The World Wide Web at 30: Re-imagining a web built for children
Between 9 – 10 May, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, hosted a conference on children’s digital rights at BBC Salford for ENOC – the network of Children’s Commissioners and Ombudsmen from all over Europe. Pupils from two local schools, Chorlton High School and Manchester Communication Academy, joined the conference for a session in which they put their questions to representatives of some of the biggest social media companies.
Chorlton High School kicked off the session by setting out what the digital world would look like if it was built for young people like them. Here is what they said (17 May 2019):
On behalf of the children in the UK, we thank you for inviting us here today and allowing our voices to be heard.
In the early 1980s, when Microsoft was first starting out, Bill Gates was quoted as saying that his vision for the future was to have a computer in every home in America. At the time all the experts said that this was not only a ridiculous idea, but that nobody would need a computer in their home, businesses are the only use for computers. Nearly 40 years on and this ‘ridiculous’ vision was not only realised, but was wildly naive. Now every person, young and old, rich and poor has a computer in their pocket. In just 40 years’ this technology has gone from science-fiction to the very fabric of modern society, normal for every user. But we ask, how much do we know about the impacts of this technology. Like Bill Gates in the 1980s, we can have a vision or an idea of how important or dangerous this technology is, but like Bill, will our ideas be wildly underestimated and will the impact be too great to comprehend.
As teenagers living in the 21st century we have grown up in a world connected. The internet was invented long before we were born. It made its way into our homes with our parents’ generation. We have never known a world without the internet, without YouTube, Google or Facebook. Our homework is done through trawling Wikipedia pages and not the aisles of our local library. We listen to music through streaming services such as Spotify, and not on our personal Walkman. We watch YouTube videos about literally everything. It is there if we want to understand a complicated science theorem or how to use makeup to contour our face. We use it when communicating with our friends across multiple platforms, SnapChat, Instagram, iMessage and WhatsApp, instead of having to ‘knock on’ or phone their home to see if they were coming out. We can communicate now more freely and more widespread than ever before. We have been born into the widest community of friends you could possibly imagine, THE DIGITAL WORLD.
The internet gives many children the opportunity to experience their rights outlined in the UNCRC: Article 13 – Freedom of expression; Article 15 – Freedom of association; Article 17 – Access to information from the media; Article 31 – leisure, play and culture.
Latest News from
Response to the Home and Foreign Secretaries regarding British children in Syria07/11/2019 12:10:00
Earlier this year Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, wrote to the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary regarding the safety and welfare of British children who have become involved in the conflict in Syria.
Marking 30 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with call on political parties to put the spotlight on children during election campaign05/11/2019 15:20:00
Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, is calling on the political parties fighting the General Election to put the spotlight on children’s issues, as she joins the Children’s Commissioners for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in publishing an assessment of the UK’s progress on children’s rights.
Children’s Commissioner for England calls for changes to gambling laws as report into online gaming reveals children’s gambling fears22/10/2019 10:20:00
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, is today (Tuesday) publishing a report, “Gaming the system’’ which looks at the experiences of children who play games online. The Children’s Commissioner’s Office commissioned the research company Revealing Reality to speak to groups of children who play online games like FIFA, Fortnite and Roblox about what they love and what worries them about gaming, both to shine a light on their experiences and to inform policy recommendations.
The state of child poverty and how we can tackle it Home > Latest17/10/2019 15:20:00
On the United Nations Day for Poverty Eradication we should never fail to be shocked that we are talking about child poverty when are one of the wealthiest countries on earth.
Children’s Commissioner for England response to CQC report on the state of care15/10/2019 13:20:00
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, has responded to the CQC annual report into the state of care.
Almost one in five children left education at 18 last year without basic qualifications20/09/2019 15:20:00
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, has published research looking at the number of children who leave the education system at 18 without reaching Level 2 attainment (five GCSEs grade A* to C, or equivalent technical qualifications).
Children’s manifesto calls on political parties to back six pledges to transform life chances for all kids10/09/2019 09:20:00
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, has published ‘Guess How Much We Love You: A Manifesto for Children’ ahead of any upcoming General Election.
Anne Longfield responds to Government Spending Review04/09/2019 16:15:00
Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, responded to the Government’s Spending Review