Integrating children’s rights & ethics into the design process

Integrating children’s rights and ethics into the heart of the design process

The Designing for Children Guide was created by 70+ heroes – designers, psychologists, neuroscientists, health care specialists, educators, and children’s rights experts – during Talkoot, a 48-hour collaborative event in Helsinki in January 2018.

The aim of this evolving guide is to refine a new standard for both design and businesses and direct the development towards products and services that have ethics and children’s best interests at their core.

Key Principles 1.3.

1. Everyone can use
I need a product that does not discriminate against characteristics such as gender, age, ability, language, ethnicity and socio-economic status. Support this diversity in all aspects of your company’s design and business practices (including advertising). Expect me to use your product in unintended ways and keep in mind that I might use your product even if it is not designed for me.

Links to U.N. children’s right: NON-DISCRIMINATION

2. Give me room to explore and support my growth
I need to experiment, take risks and learn from my mistakes. If/when there are mistakes, support me to fix them by myself, or together with an adult. Encourage my curiosity, but consider my capabilities based on age and development. I need support to acquire new skills and encouragement to try self-driven challenges.

Links to U.N. children’s right: RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT.

3. I have purpose so make my influence matter
Help me understand my place and value in the world. I need space to build and express a stronger sense of self. You can help me do this by involving me as a contributor (not just a consumer). I want to have experiences that are meaningful to me.

Links to U.N. children’s right: RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE

4. Offer me something safe and keep me protected

Make sure your products are safe for me to use and do not assume anyone else will ensure my safety. A marked path or ‘lifeguard’ can tell me why something is unsafe and informs me on how to stay safe. Help me to improve my digital literacy. Give me tools to distance myself from those I do not want to have contact with, making unwanted content or contacts easy to block. Do not expose me to unwanted, inappropriate or illegal content. Provide me also with a model for healthy behaviour. Make sure you equip my guardians with an understanding of this as well.

Links to U.N. children’s right: RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED

5. Do not misuse my data
Help me keep control over my data by giving me choices about what data to share, for what purpose and let me know how my data is used. Do not take any more than you need, and do not monetize my personal data or give it to other people. Care about me by respecting my data.

Links to U.N. children’s right: RIGHT TO PRIVACY

6. Create space for play, including a choice to chill

When using your product or service, consider different moods, views and contexts of play. I am active, curious and creative but guide me to have a break and do not forget to also offer me some breathing space. Foster interactive and passive time and encourage me to take breaks. Make it easy to set my own limits and help to develop and transform them as my understanding of the world around grows.


7. Encourage me to be active and play with others
My well-being, social life, play, creativity, self-expression and learning can be enhanced when I collaborate and share with others. Provide me with experiences to help me build relationships and social skills with my peers and community, but also give me the tools to distance myself from those I do not want to have contact with. Encourage equality in your product or service by not highlighting differences that can be used in discrimination, such as number of friends or likes.


8. Help me recognize and understand commercial activities
Label advertising clearly so I do not confuse it with other information. Transparently indicate when actions in your product or service commit me to download content or commit to exclusive use of your product. Make sure that I fully understand all purchases before I am paying for those in or through your product/ service.

Links to U.N. children’s right: RIGHT TO INFORMATION

9. Use communication I can relate to
Make sure that I understand all the relevant information that has an impact on me. This includes the terms and conditions of your product or service. Consider all forms of communication (visuals, sound etc.) and make it accessible to all. Keep in mind that age, ability, culture and language impact my understanding.

Links to U.N. children’s right: RIGHT TO INFORMATION

10. You don’t know me, so make sure you include me
You should spend time with me when you design a product or a service that I may use. My friends, parents, teachers, and communities also care about your product or service so include them in the process as well. We have good ideas that could help you. Also, ensure that you talk with people who are experts on my needs.

Links to U.N. children’s right: RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE, RIGHT TO BE HEARD

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