What Are Children’s Rights?

Children’s rights are a set of rules agreed by countries which say how they must protect and help children. They are not the same as adult rights, because adults have responsibilities too. However, children have many extra responsibilities and rights that adults do not have. It is important for everyone to understand these rights.

Every child has a right to survive, so governments must make sure they have food, water, shelter and health care. Children also have a right to play and learn. This means that schools must provide children with enough space to play and study, and with good teaching and decent facilities. Governments must also make sure that all children have access to information from lots of different sources, in languages they can understand – for example the Internet, television, books and newspapers. This information should be accurate, balanced and not harmful. Children have the right to speak and be listened to by their parents, and other people who look after them. They have a right to freedom of expression, and to privacy – they should not be forced to share their homes or private lives with anyone else. Governments must stop children being taken out of their country if it would harm them – for example, by someone who wants to kidnap them or by a parent who does not want them any more. They must keep children together with their parents unless this is not in their best interests, and they should make sure that all children know where their parents are if they live apart. Children who are taken away from their family for their protection or care should be checked regularly to make sure that they are being looked after well – and that their home, school and other places where they live are safe and clean.

Parents are usually the main people who look after their children, but if they are not, other people will do this. These are called “guardians”. Governments must make sure guardians look after their children properly, and do not hurt them or treat them badly. They must respect the children’s religion, culture and language. Governments must protect children from sexual exploitation (being taken advantage of), such as being made to have sex for money or to take part in pornography. They must protect children from drugs, which can damage their health and cause problems when they grow up.

Children’s rights are not just about how well they are looked after, but also how much they are valued. This is why they are important to all of us, no matter where we live or what kind of job we have. Children can only achieve their full potential if they feel that their rights are being respected. This is why it is important for governments to put them at the heart of all their decisions. To do this, they need to develop their skills in identifying children’s needs and in creating policies to address these needs.