The explosion of information and communication technology (ICT) has created unprecedented opportunities for children and young people to know their rights. More and more children are connecting for the first time every day, either on personal or shared devices. However, wider and more easily available access to the Internet and digital technology also pose significant challenges to meaningful connectivity and children’s rights, including their safety. Impacts range from threats to protection of personal data and privacy to harassment and cyberbullying, harmful online content, grooming for sexual purposes, and sexual abuse and exploitation.
The global challenge of child online protection (COP) requires a global response, international cooperation, and national coordination. With more reliance on digital technologies, the COVID-19 pandemic aggravates previously existing risks for children online and stresses the urgent need for action.
The challenges and threats persist due to the borderless nature of the online environment among other reasons that hinder the protection of children through a lack of dedicated international and national legislative frameworks, plans, strategies, resources including funding, and institutions to ensure child online protection.
An inclusive, multifaceted child online protection strategy with effective and targeted measures and activities including financial and human resources to implement the strategy is necessary at all levels. Only with a coordinated and cooperative multi-stakeholder approach will children and future generations be protected and empowered to thrive in digital environments.