Censoring, Censuring Or Empowering? Young People And Digital Agency
Faculty of Education And Arts
School of Communication and Arts/Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
Australian Research Council
ARC Number : DP110100864
The protection of young people from troubling and disturbing online content is rightly a high policy in Western nations. However, ‘the child’ is increasingly being defined as anyone below the age of majority : 18 in most nations. The significant age and maturity difference between primary school children and teenagers are recognised in most cinema classification schemes but less nuanced in terms of regulated online content. While there is considerable evidence that younger children benefit from vigilant support regarding what they access online, the legal and policy focus upon the regulated protection of teenagers risks constraining opportunities as well as risks, and may impact upon their online behaviour in ways that lead to unintended consequences. This paper is framed in terms of recent debates around the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC’s) National Classification Scheme Review (which considered content), and the Australian Government’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s Convergence Scheme Review (Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s, 2011) (which considered the regulatory implications of converged media). It elaborates some of the issues arising from acknowledging that older children are agents who see themselves as having choices about what they do online.