Parent-child relationships in the digital era

Blue piece of COFACE star

This policy and advocacy session took place online with 70 stakeholders present  from a variety of backgrounds (children, parents, family professionals, teachers, ICT industry, researchers, national and EU policy-makers and more) from 29 countries. A couple of key topics were discussed with key messages and recommendations emerging, providing some of the latest research and listening to the opinions of children, families and professionals, on challenges and solutions.


Policy and advocacy session on parent-child relationships in the digital era

22nd November 2022 – 14.00-16.15 CET

Full programme

The role of families in supporting and guiding children in the realisation of their rights and in harnessing the opportunities of the digital environment will be the focus of the online COFACE policy and advocacy session on 22nd November 2021 for World Children’s Day.

Participants and objectives of the online session

We are delighted to welcome speakers  from the Horizon 2020 research project DigiGen and Better Internet for Kids Youth ambassadors for this online session, together with key stakeholders for the discussion including  COFACE members, researchers, policy-makers, NGOs, children, families and any stakeholders interested in the impact of digital transformations on parent-child relations. The objectives of the session are multiple:

  • Consult a wide range of stakeholders on ICT and the impact on family life about key measures needed to support parent-child relationships in the digital era;
  • Encourage knowledge transfer across EU countries on the impact of digitalisation on family life;
  • Present results of the DigiGen Horizon2020 research on the impact of digital transformations and families;
  • Promote lifelong learning, to keep up with the rapid changes that digital technology is bringing to the world;
  • Ensure child rights are respected in the online world, with a focus on building a safer internet and online participation.


ICT use and its impact on family life

The parent-child relationship has changed significantly in the last two decades with the advent of the digital age, even more since the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, and the general perception is that technology has caused a deterioration of family relations. But fresh evidence from European research shows that the picture is more nuanced.  A recently published DigiGen review indicates that the ways families engage with digital technologies are complex and have varying effects. On the one hand, ICT offers unique opportunities for all family members. On the other hand, children – and adults – face online risks and challenges. It shows that the ways families engage with digital technologies are complex.


Background and EU context

A year ago, COFACE Families Europe adopted its Child Compass 2030: For a Europe which invests in shaping a healthy society, environment, and economy fit for children It is a comprehensive, integrated, and long-term strategy to develop appropriate 21st-century policies to support both children and their families. The Compass offers a conceptual framework situating the child and their family at the core of a system with 5 priorities and interlinked spheres of influence on individual child and family health and well-being: Education, Community, Digital Technology, Economy, and Environment. Since then, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has adopted general comment 25 on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment and the European Commission has published an EU strategy on the Rights of the Child which covers many of the dimensions covered in the Compass, including strong recommendations on tackling child rights in the digital environment.  Additionally, the European Commission’s Strategy for a Better Internet for Children is currently under revision, and will contribute to set new ambitious goals, covering emerging digital technologies. Finally, the European Pillar of Social Rights is addressing the digital divide and inequalities in access to digital hardware and services.


Photo: ©Fertnig via

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