There are more than 2 billion children under the age of 18, with the majority living in the developing countries in Sub Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Many children have access to and are being impacted by the Internet. They may also be exploited by its use in unthinkable ways, and their rights violated in an unacceptable manner. Despite its many benefits, the Internet has been an enabler of abuse and exploitation all around the globe.
Protection of children online is fundamental to creating a healthy and progressive society, and to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals; in particular goal 16.2 calling for ending all forms of violence against children. It is equally important that government, the private sector, civil society, educators, families, parents and caregivers, all play their part.
The ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative covers most aspects of child online safety and together with other international initiatives provides a blueprint for all of us. Implementation requires proactive engagement by all concerned stakeholders and decision makers who must allocate resources, champion the cause and play an active role in ensuring child online safety.
Several modes of engagement exist to help protect children online. They require developing and enabling partnerships with a focus on keeping children safe online and empowering them for the digital world.
The Child Online Safety Universal Declaration strives to align all relevant stakeholders on the common mission of championing the cause of protection of children online.