The past 25 years has witnessed the dramatic and exponential growth and use of digital technologies globally. Children’s lives, experiences and opportunities are increasingly mediated by their engagement with digital technologies. The delicate balance between censorship and protection presents additional complexities when considering the opportunities and challenges for children’s rights in a digitalised world. This special issue aims to engage critically with this complexity, exploring and reflecting upon some of the theoretical, philosophical, methodological and practical issues relating to the conceptualisation and actualisation of children’s rights in a ‘21st century digital world’. Perspectives are shared from research into children’s lived experiences across the globe (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Latvia, Morocco, The Philippines, Portugal, Serbia, South Africa, UAE, USA) and from diverse disciplines (Child Welfare, Communications and Media, Criminology, Cultural Studies, Early Childhood Education, Teacher Education, ICT, Legal Studies, and Sociology). Together, the seven articles that follow explore a wide range of children’s lived experience of engagement with digital technologies, provoke discussions pertaining to children’s rights and digital media globally, and highlight some of the forces that complicate, block or distort the actualisation of their rights in diverse societal contexts.