Protecting children’s rights in the digital environment

Eurochild advocates for children’s rights and well-being to be at the heart of policymaking. We believe children should be able to enjoy online the same rights they already hold offline. In this area, Eurochild has two main goals:

  • influence EU policy and legislation on children's rights in the digital environment, in particular regarding the prevention of online harm.
  • develop the knowledge and capacity of members and children to be engaged in Eurochild's advocacy work - including peer-to-peer learning and sharing of experiences.

With the support of Oak Foundation, Eurochild is setting up a members’ taskforce and a children’s group with different capacity-building and advocacy opportunities. Moreover, we are working together with the EU and other civil society organisations to ensure the proposed regulation upholds to the best standards of child protection. We work to ensure children’s views on online safety and their role in the digital environment are heard.

The context
In Europe, despite a shift in lifestyle that sees children live their lives online and offline indistinguishably. Child sexual abuse affects at least one in five children in Europe and one in every seven victims is under 6 years. Children are exposed to new threats as internet services evolve. Children must be protected from harmful content (i.e. age-inappropriate material), contact (i.e. dangerous contact with adults), conduct (i.e. verbal aggressions online) and contract (i.e. using data from children for commercial extortion).

Decision-makers, civil society and service providers must uphold their duty to protect children’s rights, including to safety, in the digital environment. Under the current interim regulation valid until end of summer 2024, tech companies have been able to voluntarily detect child abuse material with little supervision or guidance and always having the possibility to opt out.

This 2023 will be a pivotal year as a new regulation on reporting, detecting and removing child sexual abuse material is being discussed to permanently substitute the interim regulation after its expiry in 2024. Therefore, Eurochild is working closely with its members and strategic partners to promote the best child protection standards possible also in the digital environment.

Fabiola Bas Palomares, Eurochild Policy & Advocacy Officer on online safety

Further reading:

Relevant news from our members:

>> Additional Taskforce Resources for Eurochild members (Members' Room)

Relevant projects: