Children, a key yet missed demographic in AI regulation – India’s Leadership in AI Regulation and Children’s Safety | 26 September 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

What's the article about?

  • It talks about developing a global framework on the ethical expansion of AI, especially for children and adolescents.


  • GS2: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
  • GS3: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.
  • Prelims


  • India is hosting the first-ever global summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in October and the GPAI global summit in December, highlighting the strategic importance of AI for the country's economy.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a global framework on the ethical expansion of AI, and India has an opportunity to set a policy example for the Global South.
  • However, AI regulation must address the risks and challenges associated with children and adolescents, who are a critical yet less understood demographic in this context.


  • Governance Challenge:
    • The nature of digital services means that many cutting-edge AI deployments are not designed specifically for children but are nevertheless accessed by them.
    • Regulation will have to align incentives to reduce issues of addiction, mental health, and overall safety. In the absence of that, data-hungry AI-based digital services can readily deploy opaque algorithms and dark patterns to exploit impressionable young people.
    • Among other things, this can lead to tech-based distortions of ideal physical appearance(s) which can trigger body image issues. Other malicious threats emerging from AI include misinformation, radicalisation, cyberbullying, sexual grooming, and doxxing.
  • Addressing Children and Adolescents:
    • India can assume leadership in how regulators address children and adolescents, who are a critical yet less understood demographic in this context.
    • AI regulation must improve upon India's approach to children under India's newly minted data protection law.
    • The data protection framework's current approach to children is misaligned with India's digital realities.
    • It transfers an inordinate burden on parents to protect their children's interests and does not facilitate safe platform operations and/or platform design.
    • Confusingly, it inverts the well-known dynamic where a significant percentage of parents rely on the assistance of their children to navigate otherwise inaccessible user interface and user experience (UI/UX) interfaces online.
  • Shifting the Emphasis:
    • International best practices can assist Indian regulation to identify standards and principles that facilitate safer AI deployments.
    • UNICEF's guidance for policymakers on AI and children identifies nine requirements for child-centred AI which draws on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (India is a signatory).
    • The guidance aims to create an enabling environment that promotes children's well-being, inclusion, fairness, non-discrimination, safety, transparency, explainability, and accountability.
    • Another key feature of successful regulation will be the ability to adapt to the varying developmental stages of children from different age groups.
      California's Age Appropriate Design Code Act serves as an interesting template. The Californian code pushes for transparency to ensure that digital services configure default privacy settings; assess whether algorithms, data collection, or targeted advertising systems harm children; and use clear, age-appropriate language for user-facing information. Indian authorities should encourage research that collects evidence on the benefits and risks of AI for India's children and adolescents. This should serve as a baseline to work towards an Indian Age Appropriate Design Code for AI.

Way Forward:

  • As India moves towards a new law to regulate harms on the Internet and looks to establish its thought leadership on global AI regulation, the interests of young citizens must be front and center.
  • The fast-evolving nature of AI means that regulation should avoid prescriptions and instead embrace standards, strong institutions, and best practices that imbue openness, trust, and accountability.

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

Download the Samajho App

Join 5 lakh+ students in downloading PDF Notes for 2000+ Topics relevant for UPSC Civil Services Exam. &nbsp Samajho Android App: Samajho iOS App: &nbsp Samajho IAS Youtube Channel (300K+ Subscribers):