Digital Transformation in Law & Society: Comparative Perspectives on Families and New Media

New media usage entails disclosure of various types of information, offers new channels for secluded one-on-one as well as collective communication, and bears new risks of violating privacy, emotional integrity, and sexual selfdetermination. While particularly vulnerable online, children also benefit greatly from inclusion in digital discourse, access to information, and social opportunities. Rights to participation are to be reconciled with rights to protection. Children – as normative subjects and human beings – have rights to free expression and privacy; parental and societal efforts to protect children risk undermining these rights. New media practices and collectives shape childhood in ways that adults today did not experience themselves as children. Social web applications have become part of family life. The use of online imagery gives both children and parents a new means of outward (self-)representation. Connected toys and smart home devices have implications for concepts of (family) trust and private space. These elements of digital transformation challenge conceptions of data, (artistic) copyright, and parental responsibility. (Nation) State laws and policies collide with developing transnational codes and digital (youth) cultures. Comparative perspectives will allow light to be shed on these aspects of digital transformation in law and society.

Nina Dethloff and Katharina Kaesling