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This page is a translated version of the page Wikimedia Foundation Child Rights Impact Assessment and the translation is 2% complete.
ArticleOne – WMF Child Rights Impact Assessment Report 2023 (English)
ArticleOne – WMF Child Rights Impact Assessment – Foreword + Executive Summary (French). Also available on-wiki.
ArticleOne – WMF Child Rights Impact Assessment – Foreword + Executive Summary (Spanish). Also available on-wiki.

Introduction

This Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) was commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation in 2022 to better understand the impacts, risks, and opportunities posed to children who access and participate in Wikimedia projects, such as Wikipedia. It was completed and submitted to the Foundation in 2023. It was published in January 2024.

The Wikimedia Foundation partnered to conduct this CRIA with Article One, a specialized strategy and management consultancy with expertise in human rights, responsible innovation, and sustainability. This report summarizes Article One’s findings and presents its recommendations for the Foundation and the broader Wikimedia movement to consider in strengthening its existing policies and approach to protecting and upholding children’s rights.

The Wikimedia Foundation published this CRIA report in January 2024 in order to demonstrate its ongoing work conducting human rights due diligence, as well as to meet its commitments to publicly report on this work as outlined in the Human Rights Policy. Importantly, publishing this report will allow for the Wikimedia movement to better understand the challenges and opportunities it identifies and to continue dialogue around how Wikimedians can continue to protect children on our projects. You can read more about what this report means for the Wikimedia community on Diff.

About this Child Rights Impact Assessment

This CRIA forms an important part of the Foundation’s long-term efforts to protect Wikimedians and their human rights as articulated in our Human Rights Policy. It follows and builds upon our 2020 organizational Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA), which identified risks to children’s rights as one of five categories of significant human rights risks facing the Foundation and Wikimedia communities. The HRIA recommended that the Foundation undertake a targeted assessment to better understand risks to children’s rights.

This child rights impact assessment was carried out in 2022 and 2023 by Article One, the specialized strategy and management consultancy mentioned above. It was submitted to the Foundation in March 2023. The purpose of the assessment was to identify and analyze the impacts, risks, and opportunities posed to children who access and participate in Wikimedia projects. In doing so, the assessment proposes concrete recommendations that the Foundation and Wikimedia communities could implement to mitigate those risks, and so that children can maximize the benefit they can receive by participating in the projects.

Foundation staff, volunteers, young users of Wikimedia projects, affiliates, and external subject matter experts were consulted as a part of this assessment. This included individuals who participated in Wikimedia projects as minors and continued their engagement into adulthood, activities that offered them unique perspectives on the risks and opportunities posed to children.

After reviewing the initial report, the Foundation and Article One partnered to carry out a comprehensive review of the internal CRIA report to prepare a version for publication. Some interviews and descriptions contained too much detail and could place individuals at risk or provide guidance to bad actors for how to cause harm if published without revision. We made efforts to revise or generalize risky content where possible. Where it was not possible to revise or generalize such content to mitigate the risk of harm, it was deleted. This CRIA report is, therefore, a redacted version of the original.

What is included in this report?

This report includes:

  • A foreword, providing additional context for the CRIA, why it was commissioned, and how the Foundation has responded since receiving the report;
  • An executive summary, summarizing the purpose, methodology, findings, and recommendations of the report;
  • A detailed analysis of the findings of the report regarding risks and opportunities facing children on Wikimedia projects, broken down according to three categories of groups of children: volunteers, children who participate in in-person events hosted by Wikimedia chapters, and members of the general public who may passively visit or read Wikimedia projects; and
  • A series of recommendations for the Wikimedia movement to respond to the risks identified.

In order to improve the impact and accessibility of this report, the foreword and the executive summary have been translated into French and Spanish. These texts are available as PDFs (linked on this page), as well as on a subpage of this report where they are marked for translation and available for community translation into other languages. The Foundation determined that the global reach of the French and Spanish languages, as well as the prospects for legislation impacting youth access to Wikimedia projects to be introduced in French and Spanish-speaking countries in the coming months and years, made these languages the immediate priority for translation.

What work has the Foundation done to respond to the report’s findings and recommendations since it was submitted?

The report outlines recommendations that involve different movement stakeholders. While some recommendations can only be acted upon by community processes, others will rely on a partnership between Foundation and communities, and others are up to the Foundation to address. Since the CRIA was completed in March 2023, the Foundation has begun to cohesively and sustainably address many of the report’s recommendations that lie within its purview. Such work includes:

  • Finalizing a child protection policy, a set of guidelines and procedures regarding changes to or removals of content on Wikimedia projects, as well as actions against specific individuals, upon receipt of valid complaints from the community or the public or as required by law; this policy will be published in the days following the publication of this report;
  • Providing actionable, easy-to-understand recommendations in the child protection policy for children to protect themselves and their privacy on Wikipedia, including an email address to contact to express concerns;
  • Continuing the development of the Incident Reporting System, which will provide users, including children, with streamlined reporting of and processing mechanisms for harassment and other inappropriate behaviors on Wikimedia projects;
  • Including child rights considerations in recent reviews of grant applications. These are now being formalized into a set of standardized criteria that will be published and incorporated into grant application review processes;
  • Starting to identify and document activities and initiatives occurring within Wikimedia communities that strive to empower and protect children, so that we can identify future partners for addressing key recommendations in the report. If you are working on such issues, please let us know about your efforts by emailing us. More details on this below;
  • Enhancing the structure and governance of the Foundation’s Human Rights Steering Committee so that it is able to better carry out and implement the findings of human rights due diligence efforts, including this CRIA;
  • Designating a current staff member with the relevant experience and expertise to lead child safeguarding efforts within the Foundation’s Trust and Safety team.

Looking Forward (January 2024)

It is important to acknowledge that implementing the recommendations contained within this report will be a long-term endeavor, and not every recommendation may be feasible. The Foundation will continue to advance in the work identified above, which reflect our efforts to address some of the high-level recommendations provided in the CRIA. Other recommendations in this report, however, provide opportunities for the Foundation and volunteer communities to collaborate more closely in order to incorporate child rights considerations into ongoing efforts. Such opportunities include:

  • Developing a child-friendly complaints and reporting mechanism, along with appropriate internal staffing, resourcing, and internal systems to process those complaints;
  • Integrating children’s voices into the Foundation’s approach to protecting children and implementing its Design Principles;
  • Empowering children to better protect themselves online by providing child-friendly resources and tools;
  • Developing a proactive and rights-compatible approach to engaging on government regulations that affect children’s rights.

Other additional recommendations will need to be led by Wikimedia volunteers and affiliates, such as those concerning broader movement strategy and governance. Specific recommendations for affiliates and volunteers to consider and lead on include evaluating the Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy recommendations through a child rights lens.

In 2024 and beyond, the Foundation will seek out and create opportunities to hear from volunteers and affiliates about the work that is already happening in the movement to keep children safe and to continue dialogue about how the Foundation and the community can collaborate to address the opportunities identified above.

How can I provide feedback on this report, or tell the Foundation about how my community is working with youth?

We recognize that volunteers and affiliates will have questions and feedback on this report, and that not all of the report’s recommendations may be feasible. We welcome feedback and discussion from volunteers, affiliates, and other movement stakeholders to determine which recommendations the Foundation should prioritize in order to benefit Wikimedia projects and the wider movement.

The Foundation will host a series of community conversation hours to discuss the findings and recommendations of the report in February, after volunteers will have had time to read and reflect on the report. Register below and join us to discuss this report at the following times:

The Foundation will work to provide live interpretation for languages that receive at least five volunteer requests. Please submit requests for interpretation, including the language you are requesting, by email to youthsurvey@wikimedia.org.

You can also discuss this report and leave questions on this talk page.

In the meantime, the Foundation’s Global Advocacy team is working to identify and document efforts happening within the movement so that we can begin reaching out to volunteers, learning more about your work with youth, and identifying best practices and lessons learned to incorporate into future child protection initiatives. If you are currently working to support, empower, or protect youth on Wikimedia projects and would like to tell the Foundation about your work, please send an email to youthsurvey@wikimedia.org describing your initiatives, the communities they have focused on, and where we can find more information about them on-Wiki. We will then prepare a list of child rights initiatives happening across the movement and publish it on this Meta page to facilitate dialogue and coordination.