Committee on the Rights of the Child General comment No. 25 (2021) on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

In the present general comment, the Committee on the Rights of the Child explains how States parties should implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to the digital environment and provides guidance on relevant legislative, policy and other measures to ensure full compliance with their obligations under the Convention and the Optional Protocols thereto in the light of the opportunities, risks and challenges in promoting, respecting, protecting and fulfilling all children’s rights in the digital environment.

The present general comment draws on the Committee’s experience in reviewing States parties’ reports, its day of general discussion on digital media and children’s rights, the jurisprudence of the human rights treaty bodies, the recommendations of the Human Rights Council and the special procedures of the Council, two rounds of consultations with States, experts and other stakeholders on the concept note and advanced draft and an international consultation with 709 children living in a wide variety of circumstances in 28 countries in several regions.

Included in this general comment is guidance on the child's right to identity and birth registration, as well as the importance of access to digital technologies for children in alternative care or who are separated from their parents or caregivers (para. 87). Paragraph 72 notes that "States parties should ensure that children and their parents or caregivers can easily access stored data." As per paragraph 68, this data "may include information about, inter alia, children’s identities, activities, location, communication, emotions, health and relationships."

Furthermore, the general comment urges States parties "to promote the use of digital identification systems that enable all newborn children to have their birth registered and officially recognized by the national authorities, in order to facilitate access to services, including health, education and welfare" (para. 79).