Child Online Safety

Working Group Co-Chaired by:

Joanna Rubenstein
World Childhood Foundation

There are >2 billion children (The UN definition of children is 0-18 year of age and youth is estimated to be 15-24 years of age.) under the age of 18 and >1.8 billion youth in the world, with the majority living in the developing countries in Sub Saharan Africa and Asia. The rapid expansion of broadband (fixed and mobile) in the developing world will bring a lot of benefits to children and youth and accelerate the economic growth of the countries, but it will also put millions of children at risk. Therefore, to ensure that children can benefit from this transformational technology (access to education, health care, information and entertainment) while eliminating the negative consequences and risks of access to connectivity (violence, abuse, exploitation, bullying, trafficking, access to illegal drugs, radicalizing information, child labor, recruitment of child soldiers and other harmful and illegal activities) there is a need to mobilize the will and action of various stakeholders. Some of these key stakeholders – regulators and operators – are represented by the Broadband Commission. 

The 2030 agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides new opportunities to address violence against children. The SDG 16.2 – ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence (physical, psychological and sexual) against and torture of children by 2030, will not be reached without addressing the role of the broadband to combat these illegal activities affecting children.

There are several important initiatives led by the UN system including ITU and UNICEF, GSMA, governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector addressing the risks children are exposed to on-line, especially grooming and child sexual exploitation, trafficking, propagation of child sexual abuse materials, or bulling. These groups have contributed to the development of educational programs for children how to avoid the risks and behave on-line, and for adults/parents how to protect their children. There are also different tools to block access to illegal sites on Internet. But despite these efforts, Interpol is observing significant increase in child sexual abuse material on-line, and other criminal activities affecting children. With expansion of broadband and the ambition of providing universal access to connectivity, we can anticipate that many more children will be at risks, in the developing countries that often lack access to response systems off line.

Objectives of the Group:

Therefore, it is imperative that the new Working Group identifies and pursues what the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and its commissioners are uniquely positioned to address that the UN system, governments or the NGOs cannot. Considering its membership (the regulators and the operators) and the mandate, the commission can help to identify and address gaps in the policy and legislative space, and can recommend to the operators and the Internet companies development and adoption of solutions minimizing the risks to children on-line, including technology driven solutions.    

  1. ​​​​​​​​​The group was launched in September 2018 during the Broadband Commission’s Annual Fall Meeting.
  2. The Group held it’s kick off call on December 5th 2018.


child online safety

Child Online Safety

Minimizing the Risk of Violence, Abuse and Exploitation Online

This report aims to increase the prioritization of child online safety among all the key stakeholders and decision-makers from governments, the private sector, civil society, NGOs, and academia. Its recommendations are actionable and represent a call to collective action. They are based on the knowledge and expertise of major expert groups that have a long-standing commitment and experience in fighting various forms of violence against children online.

child online safety declaration

The Child Online Safety Universal Declaration

Child safety is everyone's business!

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.


Broadband Commissioners

Co-Chairs: Zain & World Childhood Foundation

  1. Dr. Dato Lee Y​ee Cheon​​​g, ISTIC​
  2. Baroness Beeban Kidron, 5Rights
  3. Mr Börje Ekholm, Ericsson
  4. Mr. Marc​in Cichy, Poland
  5. Mr Denis O’Brien, Digicel
  6. Dr. Speranza Ndege, Kenyatta University
  7. Dr Carlos Jarque, America Movil
  8. Ms Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO
  9. Mr Kevin Martin, Facebook
  10. Mr. Adrian Lovett, Web Foundation
  11. Mr Mats Granryd, GSMA
  12. Mr Paul Mitchell, Microsoft
  13. Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Nguka
  14. ITU​
  15. H.E. Mr Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA
  16. H.E. Dr Amni Abou Zeid, African Union
  17. Ms Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank
  18. Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, Airtel​
  19. Huawei​
  20. H.E. Dr Abdulaziz Salem ​Al Ruwais, CITC
  21. Mr. Bocar Ba

External Experts

  1. Mr. Uri Sadeh, Interpol
  2. Mr. Howard Taylor, End Violence Partnership
  3. Mr. John Carr 
  4. Mr.Paul Shapiro, ICMEC
  5. Ms. Susie Hargreaves​, WPGA, IWF
  6. Mr. RobbertVan Der Berg, ECPAT
  7. Ms. Anna Borgstrom, NetClean
  8. WEF –YuhyunPark​
  9. Ms​. Heddy Ring, Telia
  10. UNSG High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation
  11. Ms. Julie Cordua, Thorn
  12. Ms. Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Ms. Jasmine Byrne, UNICEF
  13. Ms. Elizabeth Letourneau, JHU
  14. Mr. Ernesto Caffo
  15. Ms. Helen Mason, Child helpline International
  16. Ms. Samantha Woolfe, INHOPE