The participants of the EuroDig session on child safety online started by discussing a study which
shows that most parents think they know what their children are doing online,
but - in reality – they don’t. This, of
course, means that ensuring child safety on the Internet must include not only
preventing, but also educating and empowering children to seek advice when they
feel that they are abused, bullied or harassed online in any way.
Since the session was conducted in a more informal and unstructured format, with participants
offering ideas, questions and comments, it would be very difficult to provide a
timelined report of who said what. That is why I believe it would be more
useful if I highlighted the main ideas and conclusions of what has been
- parents need to be educated about internet and online safety, since many of them report that they are scared or do
not know enough about such issues, in order to protect they children.
- The school curriculum needs to be changed at an early age in order to talk about privacy and support. It is not only
parents who should do the educating, but the schools as well
- Young people need to be taught to distinguish about what is acceptable behaviour and what is not and, also,
the difference between what is online and what is in reality
- Online child protection initiatives would be much more efficient if delivered
in partnership between agencies, industry and government. What is more,
governments needs to put pressure on the industry in order to detect abuse
on social networking sites (which is a worrying trend)
- There is a growing demand for implementing virtual buttons for children, which they can press while online if they
feel panic, or if they are harassed or bullied in any way.