Main Challenges for Child Digital Citizenship in a Consumer Culture in Brazil

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In this article, we reflect on how practices of children’s consumer culture interfere with the exercise of rights by children who are consumers and producers of content on digital platforms. It is our aim to offer a communicational perspective to a broader discussion on the processes of child socialization within the scope of digital culture. So, this article intends to highlight some of the challenges for the exercise of children’s digital citizenship based on the Brazilian experience. It also aims to insert Brazilian research in the international debate on children’s rights on the internet. To carry out this discussion, we mobilize theoretical and empirical studies produced in Brazil and map national legal framework that supports the notion of digital citizenship for children. The theoretical effort of this work has pointed out at least two dynamics that explain the way in which the logics of consumption permeate the exercise of the rights of active children on social network platforms: the appropriation of the right to freedom of speech in order to enable child labor, and the conversion of the right to information into processes of publicizing brands in children’s daily lives. We conclude that although Brazil offers a set of legal systems that guarantee the right of children to communication, the exercise of digital citizenship faces a series of challenges. In this sense, public policies which target children in the online ecosystem are needed so that they can participate in this environment without losing their protection guarantees.

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