EU: New strategy for child protection online

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The European Commission has presented a new strategy for a safe internet for children. This is the new European strategy for Better Internet for Kids (BIK) with the aim of improving digital services, which will be suitable for all ages, as well as ensuring that every child is protected and respected. on the internet.

In the last ten years, digital technologies and the way children use them have changed radically. Modern devices have capabilities that allow children to interact with others, learn online and have fun. However, there are also risks, such as exposure to misinformation, digital bullying or harmful and illegal content, from which children need to be protected.

The new European strategy for a Better Internet for Children aims at accessible, age-appropriate and informative online content and services that are in the best interests of children.

Margaret Vestager, Executive Vice President for a Digital Age for Europe, said: “Every child in Europe deserves to be developed in a secure digital environment. “With the new strategy we want to support access to digital devices and skills for children, especially those facing vulnerable situations, to combat cyberbullying and to protect all children from harmful and illegal cyber content.”

Principles and pillars of strategy

The new European strategy for a Better Internet for Children sets out the vision for a digital decade for children and young people, based on three key pillars:

1. Safe digital experiences, protect children from harmful and illegal internet content and improve their well-being through a secure, age-appropriate digital environment.

To make the digital world a safe place for children and young people, the Commission will facilitate the design of a European age-appropriate code and call for a European standard for electronic age verification by 2024. It will also explore how to use the planned European digital identity wallet for age verification, support the rapid reporting of illegal and harmful content and ensure that, by 2023, the single harmonized number “116 111” provides assistance to victims of cyberbullying.

2. Digital empowerment so that children acquire the necessary skills and abilities to make informed choices and express themselves in the online environment safely and responsibly.

In order to promote the emancipation of children in the digital environment, the Commission will organize media campaigns for children, teachers and parents through the Safer Internet Centers network. It will also provide teaching modules for teachers through the betterinternetforkids.eu portal. The network of Safe Internet Centers in the Member States, which operates nationally and locally, will strengthen the support of children in vulnerable situations, and help bridge the digital skills gap.

3. Active participation, respect for children by giving them a voice in the digital environment, with more activities led by children to promote innovative and creative safe digital experiences.

To increase children’s participation in the digital environment, the Commission, for example, will support more experienced children to teach other children about opportunities and risks online, and will organize an evaluation of its strategy by children every two years.

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