The key takeaways presented thus far point to a few obvious areas where Technology & Telecommunications companies should shift their approach to better address their impact on children. Global Child Forum makes the following urgent calls to action to challenge companies in this sector:
Potential abounds, especially with regard to telecommunications — for profitability, for continuing innovation, and for creating a fairer, more liveable world for children. The stage, so to speak, has been set. Children, like the rest of us, are increasingly online – complete with opportunities to learn and thrive but also the need for protection. Parents are not always up to the task, lacking the time or digital expertise to support children entirely on their own. Added to that is the fact that the task of educating children now frequently occurs online. Given this substantial and growing influence, this sector has a decisive role to play, not only in the form that technology takes, but also in its outcomes for children.
This is true also for companies that are not consumer-facing, especially within the electronics industry, who need to advance their understanding of their impact on children, and then act on it. Despite being further removed from the consumer, their impact on children’s lives – through their employees, their operations, their suppliers, and customers – is significant.
Children deserve to be recognized as a stakeholder group. This is especially crucial when it comes to issues such as ongoing damage to the climate, where the response of the sector influences whether the future lives of today’s children will be about thriving or merely surviving. By grasping the next generation’s perspectives and needs, a company’s approach to issues such as damage to the climate can be focused, serious, and sustainable in the long term. Individual businesses, as well as entire sectors lacking a robust response to what is seen by many young people as an existential threat, risk being judged harshly – by a demographic comprised of consumers, citizens, activists, and future employees. This is the key challenge for companies to sustain their license to operate in the era of the Paris agreement. Global Child Forum recommends a more systematic child rights due diligence, connecting social impact with environmental and climate efforts.
All companies, but Software & IT services in particular should move toward increasing transparency and disclosures. Being transparent goes beyond policies or commitments, where true transparency also includes information about effects and outcomes: risks, compliance and remedial actions or prevention measures. Making a commitment to children and having a policy in place puts tools at a company’s disposal. Disclosing both the structures for ensuring correct implementation and then the outcomes demonstrates that these tools are being used, that your business is truly committed to improving children’s lives.
There are 3 steps companies can take to begin answering the calls to action:
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Learn more – don’t reinvent the wheel!
Build your knowledge about how your company impacts children’s lives and learn from initiatives taken by other companies that we’ve highlighted. You can easily begin that process by looking through Global Child Forum’s case studies. Go to our Knowledge Centre to find all our resources.
Take your knowledge and use what you learn to shape your business, or your role within it. Find support in resources such as the Children’s Rights and Business Workbook.
Show us what you’ve got! We think that Leaders should be less modest! Your experiences with policies, initiatives, and programmes that acknowledge children as stakeholders can be instructive and encouraging to lower-scoring peers. No one benefits when lessons learned by individual companies are cached within an organisation’s boundaries. Use our digital communications toolkit to help spread the word.
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