We need children to have a healthier digital life: The role of Foundations

Social awareness on the risks minors face in the digital world is growing stronger. After years of taking uncritical positions, public opinion is increasingly aware that access by children and adolescents to the Internet, especially with mobile phones, involves characteristics that must be taken into account.

At a crucial moment for their emotional and neuronal development, minors use digital products that can affect their socialisation and intensify possible mental health problems, in addition to facilitating and amplifying bullying at school. Moreover, uncontrolled access to inappropriate content, especially pornographic, causes gender bias and can seriously impair the development of healthy sexuality. All this, without forgetting that the business model of large Internet and social media platforms is based on attracting attention from its users to optimise and commercialise their data, with consequences in regard to privacy.

To explore possible solutions to these problems, the EADT has organized a roundtable entitled ‘We need children to have a healthier digital life: The role of Foundations’.

The event takes place next Friday, October 6th, at the Ateneo de Madrid. The roundtable will be presented by Francisca Sauquillo, president of the Civil Rights section of the Ateneo de Madrid and will be moderated by journalist Tomás López Morales, who will be joined by Ana Caballero, vice president of the European Association for Digital Transition; Beatriz Martín Padura, general director of Fundación FAD Juventud; Luisa Alli, general secretary of the Fundación Instituto Hermes; Susana Gato, deputy director of the Fundación Atresmedia; María Luisa Soleto, director of the Fundación Mujeres; and Isabel Peñalosa, director of Institutional Relations at the Asociación Española de Fundaciones.

This debate forms part of the proposal for a state pact to protect children and adolescents in the digital world that the European Association for Digital Transition presented on June 22, 2023. The initiative, developed along with Save the Children, UNICEF, Fundación Anar, iC Media and Dale Una Vuelta, also has institutional support from the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD).

Beyond legislation, the fifteen measures in the pact question, to varying degrees, the different State administrations and highlight the responsibility of all the business actors involved, including the large Internet platforms and social networks.

Since this proposal for a state pact was presented, more than one hundred civil society entities have joined it, with foundations taking a leading role, including those who will be directly represented at the event on October 6th: Fundación Atresmedia, Fundación Instituto Hermes, Fundación Mujeres and Fundación FAD Juventud.