1. New tech offers both opportunities and challenges
Markham Erickson, VP of Policy at Google, said that the industry is now at a point of attempting to balance legislation and tech solutions in a way that genuinely benefits society.
Advancements in areas like the metaverse and cryptocurrency — both of which are becoming more and more ingrained in our society and lives — is generating a need for safer environments for people to access and use the services they offer.
The pandemic also accelerated earlier trends in tech development, meaning kids are more engaged online than ever before. That means they’re getting access to areas of online experience they might once have been restricted from — and that demands a response from the industry.
2. Harm shouldn’t be considered an inevitability of being online
In a keynote address, Baroness Beeban Kidron OBE, founder of the 5Rights Foundation — an organisation which seeks to “put children’s needs and rights at the very heart of digital design” — argued that harm coming to children and others online should not be considered an inevitable consequence of the freedoms offered by the internet.
Instead, she said, we should offer specific policy responses to specific problems that are being observed online. Children should be considered rights-holders in policy and law, and addressed in those terms.
She argued that governments should work together to agree on a minimum floor for safety, and that the industry should push harder to work for safer and more privacy-respecting solutions to children’s online safety.
We should “stop the exceptionality,” Kidron said, and realise that there isn’t much separating the online and physical worlds — and policy should reflect that.