Protecting children from violence on the Internet

The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has become common practice whether for professional, educational or private needs.  Information is easily accessible and exchanged through social networks.

While ICTs offer innovative means, children are exposed to several risks if they use them in an untrained or unprotected manner. Screen time has increased significantly for children and adolescents, particularly also as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protection of children’s rights under the International convention on the rights of the child, the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter is taking on an entirely new scale. The aim of international and European bodies is to guarantee the rights of children in the digital space and to protect them against the risks associated with ICTs. 

Means of protection

The website BEE SECURE provides details about the risks together with a whole range of actions, preventive tools and advice on measures to adopt and procedures to respect in the event of a grooming case.

The Belgian website of Child Focus is a reference site on grooming. Please note that this website refers to the situation in Belgium and that reports on grooming cases observed on Luxembourg territory must be made in Luxembourg.

At European level, the Council of Europe provides in the Guidelines to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment a set of fundamental principles that help Member States implement and enforce children's rights in the digital environment. By establishing a general framework of European and international standards and instruments, these guidelines define obligations or propose benchmarks to respect, protect and fulfil children's human rights and fundamental freedoms in the digital environment.

In the European Strategy for a better Internet for children, the European Commission developed measures to give children the digital skills and tools they need to fully and safely enjoy what the Internet has to offer.  One of the actions directly originating from this strategy is the portal Better Internet for Kids. This portal provides a wide range of information, advice, practices and any necessary resources to improve the Internet for everyone involved (children, young people, parents, professionals or policy makers).

The reference site of Connect Safely is dedicated to educating people about security, privacy and digital wellness. Its resources include research-based safety tips, parent guides, advice, news and comments on all aspects of using technology and policies.

The purpose of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 2020 Child Online Protection (COP) Guidelines is to give children and families specific tools to help them develop digital skills and digital literacy. They also attempt to support actors from the industry and the government in the development of policies and strategies to protect children on the Internet at the national and corporate level.

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