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Australia’s Digital Policy Agenda

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Adopting a Children’s Rights Approach

Children’s engagement with online technologies may seem second nature, yet the impact that the Internet has on their lives is shaped by a powerful public policy agenda that largely overlooks children’s interests. Australia’s digital policy framework is dominated by discourses of safety and risk on the one hand and, on the other, neoliberal arguments about the possibilities for economic growth offered by e-commerce. In the midst of such powerful discourses it is difficult for children’s voices to be heard. This paper offers a close textual analysis of the Australian public policy context for regulating cyberspace. Finding a discursive duopoly that overlooks children’s interests, the author identifies two key features of a rights-based approach to challenge the dominant narratives currently serving the interests of the private sector and the State.

Affiliations: 1: Lecturer, Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, wendy.obrien@deakin.edu.au

10.1163/15718182-02204004
/content/journals/10.1163/15718182-02204004
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2014-12-01
2017-11-25

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