During the last three decades, we have seen significant progress in advancing children’s rights to survival, opportunity, and protection, as well as their right to speak on matters affecting their lives.
A significant factor in improving the well-being of children and youth is digital connectivity. It has increased their access to information and learning resources, and has expanded opportunities for social and civic engagement. Conversely, however, the rapid expansion in digital technologies is exposing children to an increasing range of threats to their safety and wellbeing.
Globally, laws and policies to keep young people safe online are insufficient and inconsistent. This threatens children’s ability to access the positive benefits the internet offers, while also being protected from potential dangers.
As part of the Alliance’s FY22-25 Strategic Plan, Working Together to Address Emerging Threats to Children’s Safety, ChildFund has launched WEB Safe & Wise. This new initiative will focus on addressing the risks emerging in the digital environment, while empowering children and young people to become effective digital citizens. ChildFund launched the initiative in May 2022 during an event with subject matter experts.
Digital technology is changing childhoods, with around one in three internet users being under the age of 18.
More than a third of young people in 30 countries report being cyberbullied, with one in five skipping school because of it.
Over 200,000 children go online for the first time every day, and 800 million are actively using social media.
It is estimated there are 750,000 individuals globally looking to connect with children online for sexual purposes at any one time.
Creating a better digital world with children
ChildFund believes all children have a right to be safe online. We are committed to building an accessible, safe, and inclusive digital world for all children and young people based on a framework that requires governments, industry, community members, and families to take action. Our WEB Safe & Wise advocacy campaign is focused on two key outcomes:
- Laws and policies to protect children from online child sexual exploitation and abuse are strengthened.
- Children are effective digital citizens who are equipped to participate in online civic engagement safely, ethically, and responsibly as part of their healthy development.
To achieve these outcomes, ChildFund has identified a number of global policy asks that are designed to improve protections and support digital skills development and citizenship.
Over the course of this initiative, we plan to work with government authorities; leaders in the tech industry and the broader digital community; and with civil society to advance these calls to action.
Watch our Web Safe & Wise campaign video to learn more.
Children’s Advisory Council
ChildFund Alliance is establishing a Children’s Advisory Council to support our children’s online safety campaign, Web Safe & Wise, Creating a better digital world with children. Council members will play a key role in determining how we plan, develop, and implement campaign activities. Hear what our Council members have to say about staying safe online.
ChildFund Members in Action
Several ChildFund members already have identified ways to counter this threat through the establishment of digital literacy training programs, regulatory authorities, and safe learning environments.
WATCH: ChildFund policy experts share how they are working to combat the online sexual exploitation of children and young people, and examine the drivers of this global crisis.
DISCOVER: ChildFund Swipe Safe is a project aimed at preventing online abuse and exploitation of children and enhancing the skills of teenagers to use the internet safely and effectively. An educational mobile app is also now available to teach young people about online safety.
READ: The online sexual exploitation and abuse of children (OSEAC) is one of the world’s fastest-growing crimes. Find out how ChildFund International is responding around the globe.
REVIEW: The Online Safety in the Pacific Report highlights the challenges and opportunities facing children in Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands, gathered through a participatory research process.
ChildFund is a member of the WeProtect Global Alliance, a global movement of governments, companies and charities working together to transform the global response to child sexual exploitation and abuse online.
ChildFund is a member of the Global Partnership and Fund to End Violence Against Children, launched in July 2016 by the UN Secretary-General. It is the only global entity focused solely on Sustainable Development Goal 16.2: ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.