ECPAT International celebrates the 12th Safer Internet Day on 10 February 2015 with more than 100 countries and thousands of schools, securing the online involvement of over 50 million people worldwide. It is up to all stakeholders- children and young people, parents and caregivers, teachers and educators, or governments and civil society –to help create a better internet together.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are now an integral and positive component of modern life, as important to the educational and social development of children and young people as they are to the entire global economy. However, the rapid expansion of the Internet globally, with its increasing and instant reach to individuals, has exposed more children and young people to sexual exploitation and abuse. ECPAT hopes to combat the risk to children online through advocacy and awareness in conjunction with our partners.
We renew the call for increased awareness among children and adults about the risks of sexual exploitation of children online, specialised training of law enforcement authorities, establishment of legal and self-regulating mechanisms, development of technological solutions for prevention and protection, and assistance for victims of harm. Measures to mitigate risks to children, such as exposure to inappropriate content, violent images (child sexual abuse material), cyberbullying, sexual exploitation, invasion of privacy and commercial advertising targeted to children, must be balanced against the enjoyment of children’s rights, including the freedom of expression, right to participation and right to association. Children must be empowered to maximise the benefits and minimise the harms of the Internet and play a key role in protecting themselves.
ECPAT and our partners are committed to this mission and the joint Insafe and INHOPE networks have promoted better and safer internet; where young people are at the centre of society’s response and where industry is a partner in the ever faster process of change. They recently published Annual Report 2014: working together for a better internet for children and young people, which can be downloaded and viewed here.
ECPAT published the Stay safe from online sexual exploitation: a guide for young people, which is currently available for download and viewing here. The Stay safe from online sexual exploitation guide was developed to help young people understand more about the online sexual exploitation of children and ways they can fight to end it and protect themselves from this abuse. It is currently available in English and will be released in Spanish, French and Russian in the near future.
“Let’s create a better internet together!”