New CWA 18016 provides a practical framework for children's protection and well-being online

CEN and CENELEC, together with IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)  just published a new Workshop Agreement, CWA 18016 ‘Age appropriate digital services framework’. This document describes a set of processes to help design and develop online products and services with the rights and well-being of children in mind.

The original design of most digital technologies did not anticipate use of those technologies by children. In time, this has led to an asymmetry between children and the technology they use, since children do not have the life experience and cognitive development of adults. This has led to many challenges on how to redress the balance in a way that puts the needs of children first, while continuing to promote innovation.


The newly released CWA 18086, based on IEEE 2089, helps organizations understand how their products and services affect children. It defines processes that help to develop age-appropriate system design approaches and software engineering methods, and to check whether the digital product is age appropriate. This is intended to enhance the benefits and reduce the risks in the digital world for young users up to the age of 18.


In order to design a product age-appropriately, a variety of values are considered: among them, dignity, fairness, autonomy, sustainability, responsibility and inclusivity. In addition, age equity encompasses a range of children's rights - such as privacy, access to information, freedom of expression, participation, health, and protection from sexual and economic exploitation. The newly published CWA helps to preserve these values and rights while ensuring functionality, efficiency and effectiveness.


CWA 18086 was created on the initiative of OVE (the Austrian National Electrotechnical Committee) together with IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). The next step should be to further develop this important CWA into a European standard.


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