With one in three Internet users worldwide aged under 18 it is a fact one cannot deny that inclusive and sustainable growth can only be achieved under the pre-condition that children’s rights are secured. The UN Charter on the Rights of the Child addresses in Art. 12 to 17 and 19 the rights of children to freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy, and their right to be safeguarded and protected from violence. When the UNCRC was elaborated media did play a role in children’s life but none that is comparable to the Internet of today. Therefore Internet Governance must take into account the impact of the Internet on children’s lives and the assertion of their rights to privacy, safety and freedom of expression. Achievement of the IGF goal of connecting the next billion of Internet users will obviously mean a lot more young people online considering the demographic structure of the population in countries not yet fully connected. In order to benefit from the Internet’s potential to strengthen democracy and social participation children need both physical access and digital literacy education in order to avail themselves to the rights they are given by the UNCRC.
The Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN General Assembly on Sept. 25th, 2015 mentions children and youth as a vulnerable group whose needs to be empowered are reflected in the measures to be undertaken. Ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth by enforcement of children’s rights will therefore pay directly into the SDGs.