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AGF statement on draft law on child protection in a digital world

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[27. 2. 2020] In February 2020, the BMFSFJ presented a draft of a second law amending the Youth Protection Act, on which the AGF comments. At the centre of the draft law is the overdue adaptation of the statutory protection of children and young people from harmful media to the realities of an extraordinarily dynamic digital media offering on the Internet and in social media as well as to changes in the media use behaviour of children and young people.

 

In February 2020, the BMFSFJ presented a draft of a second law amending the Youth Protection Act, on which the AGF comments. At the centre of the draft law is the overdue adaptation of the statutory protection of children and young people from harmful media to the realities of an extraordinarily dynamic digital media offering on the Internet and in social media as well as to changes in the media use behaviour of children and young people.

The range of functions offered by modern smartphones means that a large number of digital media, information and communication services are accessible to children and young people. For this reason, among others, the classic separation of content and responsibilities of the Youth Protection Act on the one hand and the Youth Media Protection Act on the other hand no longer meets the need for protection of children and young people.

The family organisations united in the AGF welcome the objective of the draft law to improve the protection of children and young people from contents which impair and endanger their development as well as to guarantee the protection of their personal rights and their data. The AGF also supports the goal to further develop the instruments for strengthening media competence, to enable safe interaction spaces and also to strengthen the educational media competence of parents. In particular, the AGF welcomes the fact that the speaker's draft takes into account the interaction risks which can arise from user-generated contents of digital media.

In 2019, the AGF formulated principles in a discussion paper on the basis of which digital framework conditions and measures for the protection of children and young people's media are evaluated. From the point of view of the AGF, criteria to be used for this purpose include

  • to what extent digital participation and fairness of participation is promoted for families,
  • whether the competences of children, young people and parents are strengthened,
  • whether comprehensive protection is guaranteed, and
  • whether an appropriate division of responsibilities is established between families, politicians and providers

 

The link to the current statement of the AGF on the draft of the referents can be found below.