The internet offers children with unprecedented opportunities for learning, connection, and creativity. Yet, within the internet lies the potential danger of its misuse for horrific child sexual abuse and exploitation purposes.
Data shows a disturbing reality: every two seconds, one image or video of child sexual abuse material is shared online. We must put an end to this crime, and we must remember… Behind these materials are real children. We cannot allow ourselves to leave them behind.
Safer Internet Day (SID) is a yearly event that brings together individuals and organisations around the world to promote a safer and better internet, with a focus on positive opportunities for children and young people.
Under the theme “Together for a better internet,” each of us is called on to play a role by ensuring every child is protected, empowered, and respected in the online world.
At the heart of the 2024 Safer Internet Day lies the new European strategy for a better internet for kids (BIK+), a roadmap for child safety online adopted in May 2022. This strategy is more than a set of rules; it’s a workplan explaining how to digitally protect, respect, and empower children.
Think of the process of safeguarding children online like navigating a ship through uncharted waters. Just as a captain oversees a ship’s route, take decisions, and conducts thorough safety checks before setting sail, decision-makers lead the way toward a safer internet for children.
In this scenario, the role of tech platforms is similar to the role of the ship’s crew performing routine maintenance and upgrades, detecting system failures, and addressing potential issues before embarking on a risky journey.
Imagine teachers, parents, and social workers as the crew on board, equipping children with the digital literacy tools for a safe and comfortable online expedition.
Just as a ship’s crew ensures a safe journey in uncharted waters, open collaboration among all actors involved is the winning formula for a safer online world.
Have you ever wondered how can you make a difference in a child’s life and prevent child sexual abuse online before it happens?
By understanding how the online world works, subscribing for child protection trainings, and listening to children’s experiences, ECPAT provides easy steps on how to keep children safe online.
If you believe you have witnessed or experienced a potential case of child sexual abuse and exploitation online, there are various sites where you can submit a report and seek help.
The Safer Internet Centre helpline in EU member states and Child Helpline International offer helpline support across the entire world. Organizations such as INHOPE and The Internet Watch Foundation provide easy to access portals where you can report and seek help online.
Whether in doubt, always remember to report actual or potential crimes to the police in your country.
Are you curious to learn about what we are doing across the world to protect children from sexual abuse online?