When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account. This does not mean that children can now tell their parents what to do. This Convention encourages adults to listen to the opinions of children and involve them in decision-making and not give children authority over adults. The level of a child’s participation in decisions must be appropriate to the child’s level of maturity. Children’s ability to form and express their opinions develops with age and most adults will naturally give the views of teenagers greater weight than those of a preschooler, whether in family, legal or administrative decisions.
Children have the right to get and share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or others. In exercising the right to freedom of expression, children have the responsibility to also respect the rights, freedoms and reputations of others. The freedom of expression includes the right to share information in any way they choose, including by talking, drawing or writing.
The right of the child to freedom of expression may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others or for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals (UN Convention on the rights of the Child, art. 12, 13, 17).