Better Internet for Children

Delegation of the European Union

Session 241

14:30–16:15, Thursday, 11 April 2019 Room K1, ITU Montbrillant Thematic Workshop

The internet provides a growing number of opportunities, ranging from learning, to communication, creativity or entertainment. But it also opens up certain risks to vulnerable users such as children. Indeed, one out of three internet users is a child. They discover internet at ever younger age, and spend online an increasing amount of time.

New technologies such as artificial intelligence or virtual reality change the way we, including our children, engage and interact in society. Furthermore, children online can be exposed to harmful content and behaviour such as cyberbullying, sexual harassment, pornography, violence, or self-harm. Efficient responses are needed to prevent negative consequences for their cognitive, social and emotional development.

The European Union pays due attention to making internet safe for our children, mostly through its strategy for a Better Internet for Children. The European Commission also co-funds Safer Internet Centres in Member States (coordinated by Insafe), with the Better Internet for Kids portal that endeavours to raise awareness and provides a hotline for victims of online abuse. Moreover, the European Commission is facilitating a self-regulatory initiative, the "Alliance to better protect minors online", with leading ICT and media companies, civil society and industry association, which tackled harmful online content and behaviour.

An essential element of online safety is awareness raising.  Starting as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004, Safer Internet Day has grown and is now celebrated in more than 150 countries worldwide. There is a growing awareness of the issue, and international organisations such as the UN, Council of Europe and OECD all are actively seeking to protect minors, as indeed is industry, academia and civil society. However, at international level there are fragmented and overlapping initiatives and a comprehensive international cooperation towards safer internet for children has not (yet) been put in place. 

This event will showcase the EU's Better Internet for Children policy. Participants will share best practices from the European Union and its Member States, which will be followed by a discussion about possible further international cooperation on the matter especially focusing on developing countries. The debate particularly discuss this matter in view of UNSG's High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation work, having as objective raising awareness about the transformative impact of digital technologies across society and the economy, and contribute to the broader public debate on how to ensure a safe and inclusive digital future for all.


Ms. Madiana Asseraf, Head of Business Development & Young Audiences, European Broadcasting Union


Ms. June Lowery-Kingston, Head of Unit, European Commission – DG CNECT

Mr. Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director, UNSG High level panel on digital cooperation

Ms. Maija Katkovska, Head of the Safer internet Centre, Latvia

Mr. Jiri Průša, Programme Coordinator, CZ.NIC Association, Czech Republic

Mr. Andero Sepp, Webconstable, Estonia (remotely)

Session's link to WSIS Action Lines

  • C4. Capacity building logo C4. Capacity building
  • C10. Ethical dimensions of the Information Society logo C10. Ethical dimensions of the Information Society
  • C11. International and regional cooperation logo C11. International and regional cooperation

Session's link to Sustainable Development Process

  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all logo Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies logo Goal 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

Safer Internet for Children is in line with SDG16 - ending all types of violence on children, and SDG 4 - providing safe learning environment (including online).


Link to this session