Childhood in the digital age: a socio-cultural and legal analysis of the UK’s proposed virtual legal duty of care
In 2019, the UK government issued an ambitious White Paper as a precursor to the regulation of ‘online harms’. This article adopts a socio-cultural and legal approach to analysing the proposed law in the context of children. How childhood is conceptualized inﬂuences public policy and legal interventions, including on the digital space. This remains a contested terrain with different conclusions on the effects of the cyberspace. The biggest challenge with legal interventions on the digital realm is the need to achieve a balance between protection and participation rights of children. The dominant conception of childhood as a period of vulnerability has meant ‘protection’ often overrides participation rights. However, such focus is the subject of challenge, with some suggesting that regulation is the product of moral panic. A further strand is the potential of disproportionate punitive measures against Internet companies against the backdrop of human rights obligations. The UK proposition is discussed within these socio-cultural and legal contexts with the objective of highlighting challenges and legal pitfalls. This article argues that Internet governance ought to give serious consideration to the new sociology of childhood
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Nyamutata, C. (2019) Childhood in the digital age: a socio-cultural and legal analysis of the UK’s proposed virtual legal duty of care. International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 27(4), pp.311–338.
ISSN : 0967-0769
Research Institute : Institute for Evidence-Based Law Reform (IELR)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Department of Law