[bestbits] CFP: Children's and young people's rights in the digital age (Special issue of New Media and Society)

Becky Lentz roberta.lentz at mcgill.ca
Mon Aug 31 12:49:35 EDT 2015

> Deadline approachingŠ and apologies for cross-posting
> Children¹s and young people¹s rights in the digital age
> Call for papers for a special issue of NEW MEDIA & SOCIETY
> Editors: Sonia Livingstone and Amanda Third
> Abstracts due (400-500 words): 15th September 2015
> In 1989, Sir Tim Berners Lee released the code that would form the foundation
> of the World Wide Web, which now boasts an audience of three billion users
> worldwide. The same year, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the
> Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the most widely ratified human rights treaty in
> the history of the UN. The trajectories thereby set in motion have recently
> become explicitly intertwined, with growing momentum behind calls for the
> recognition of the potential of online and networked media for promoting
> children¹s rights. At the same time, researchers, child rights¹ advocates and
> internet governance experts, among others, are concerned that children¹s
> rights are being newly infringed rather than enhanced in the digital age.
> While the past quarter of a century has seen the emergence of a significant
> literature examining the broad issue of children¹s rights and, in parallel, a
> burgeoning field of research on children¹s new media and digital practices in
> a variety of national and international contexts, the question of children¹s
> rights in the digital age has yet to receive sustained scholarly attention,
> especially compared with the attention paid to adult rights online. Within
> popular discourse, children and young people are frequently configured as
> riding at the forefront of the Œdigital revolution¹. Nonetheless, as high
> level debates about global internet provision and governance extend their
> geographic, political and economic scope, the position of children and young
> people is barely acknowledged. Further, in the twists and turns of often
> heated policy debates, children¹s own experiences, voices and interests are
> vastly under-considered. This special issue thus seeks to contribute to the
> definition, empirical evidence base, and theorisation of the field
> internationally.
> Not only are children¹s needs and experiences in the digital age often treated
> as merely a minority interest but they are also often seen as essentially
> problematic, as demanding exceptional treatment from adult society or causing
> unwarranted restrictions on adult freedoms. It is important to recognise the
> fundamental nature of the challenges ­ this is not just a matter of Œdigital
> rights¹ but of all children¹s rights as they may be being transformed in a
> Œdigital age¹. Nor is it just a matter of the exceptional circumstances that
> apply to children, for addressing the rights of children and young people also
> has implications for adult rights in a digital age. How does a consideration
> of children compel a wider re-examination of the concepts both of the digital
> and of human rights?
> If children¹s rights in the digital age have yet to receive attention in the
> global North, this is even more acute in the global South. The tipping point
> has already passed, with two thirds of the world¹s nearly three billion
> internet users living in developing countries, many of them children. At
> present, the evidence regarding their online activities is very patchy, too
> often drawing on anecdote, practitioners¹ observations and institutional
> reports or media accounts. There is thus an urgent need for a scholarly focus
> on the rights of children and young people within this larger picture of
> expanding connectivity in the global South. This is vital to foster debates
> about children¹s rights informed by dialogues among diverse epistemologies,
> experiences and normative frameworks.
> This special issue seeks to unpack the ways digital media are impacting ­ both
> positively and negatively ­ children¹s rights today and, in doing so, to
> reflect on the ways that children¹s rights might provide a meaningful
> counterpoint from which to consider the role of Œthe digital¹ in advancing
> human rights more broadly. Assembling contributions from leading scholars and
> practitioners in the field internationally, this special issue seeks to bring
> fully into view the ways in which children¹s rights ­ indeed rights generally
> ­ may be being reconfigured by the appropriation of digital networked
> technologies around the world. Submissions will critically examine the
> normative and socio-technological assumptions embedded in conceptual, policy
> and practitioner perspectives. To catalyse the debates, we now call for
> reflective papers of 6000-7000 words analysing key dilemmas or tensions
> shaping children¹s rights in the digital age, as well as shorter empirical or
> practitioner pieces (3000-4000 words each).
> Papers on key dilemmas or tensions that respondents to the call might address
> include:
> * The tension between universal or fundamental human rights and the specific
> rights demanded by the digital age
> * The tensions between Œadult rights¹ and Œchildren¹s rights¹
> * The relationship between children¹s rights and their citizenship
> * Collective rights versus individual rights
> * The tension between Œadult power¹ and Œchildren¹s rights¹
> * The tension between the universal (Œthe child¹, Œrights¹) and the specific
> (the lived experiences of children)
> * Hierarchies of children¹s rights in the digital age
> * Children¹s rights in the digital age in the global North and global South
> Empirical or practitioner pieces might address:
> * Children¹s privacy rights and the role of peers and peer culture
> * Youth participation rights in the mediated public sphere
> * Historical shifts in children¹s communication rights
> * Child protection in the global South: is the internet helping or hindering?
> * From principles to practice: applying arguments about digital rights in
> particular domains
> * Who is (or should be) ensuring children¹s rights online ­ parents,
> government, industry?
> * Children¹s creative workarounds to gain health resources online
> * Evaluating initiatives for e-learning and other digital educational
> programmes
> * How are children¹s rights represented or abused in Œbig data¹
> * Digital exclusion as a barrier to children¹s communication rights
> * Rethinking possibilities for children¹s identity and expression in the
> network society
> * Problems of reputation for networked youth
> * Public policy /multi-stakeholder governance regarding children¹s rights in
> the digital age
> * Children¹s information rights: what are the dilemmas?
> * Education for all ­ newly possible in the network society?
> * Grooming, hacking, cyberstalking, trolling and other crimes against children
> online
> * Meanings/limits of ³voice² in participatory research on children¹s rights in
> the digital age
> * The intergenerational dimensions of children¹s rights

> Please submit abstracts for either the Œdilemma¹ papers or
> Œempirical/practitioner papers¹ by 15th September 2015 to both editors ­ Sonia
> Livingstone (s.livingstone at lse.ac.uk <mailto:s.livingstone at lse.ac.uk> ) and
> Amanda Third (A.Third at uws.edu.au <mailto:A.Third at uws.edu.au> ).
> The editors will invite full papers from selected submissions by early
> October, with full papers to be submitted for independent review by 1st
> February 2016. It is anticipated that the special issue will be published via
> Online First by late 2016.
> Professor Sonia Livingstone, DPhil, FBPS, FRSA, OBE
> Department of Media and Communications, LSE
> S105, St Clements Building, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK
> Web: www.sonialivingstone.net <http://www.sonialivingstone.net>
> Blog: www.parenting.digita <http://www.parenting.digita@Livingstone_S> l
> Twitter: @Livingstone_S
> EU Kids Online: www.eukidsonline.net <http://www.eukidsonline.net>
> TEDx talk: http://ow.ly/wwWiC <http://ow.ly/wwWiC>
> Open access papers:
> http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/view/lseauthor/Livingstone,_Sonia.default.html
> <http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/view/lseauthor/Livingstone,_Sonia.default.html>
> Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard
> Fellow and past President, International Communication Association
> Books: Meanings of Audiences (2013), Digital Technologies in the Lives of
> Young People (2014)

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