Safer Internet Day 2022: Children should be at the core of the EU digital rules

                                                                                                                       

8 February 2022

 

Today, on Safer Internet Day, the Intergroup on Children’s Rights stresses the importance of working out specific legislative measures that put children at the heart while regulating the digital environment.

“It is high time we take online safety very seriously, because it is clear that the situation has gotten out of control. The internet is flooded with child sexual abuse material. Let me stress that behind these numbers, there is a human face, a child who has been stripped away of his or her very basic rights, and whose life has been shuttered forever because of it. Child sexual abuse imagery harms children at every single view and re-victimizes them as long as we let the image out there. Privacy and protection of children can indeed go hand in hand and child victims deserve to live free from violence and free from the fear that a stranger could stumble upon their abusive image that portrays their abuse, forcing them to re-live the trauma. It is about giving children back control of their lives!” said MEP Hilde Vautmans, Co-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights.

One in three internet users in Europe is a child, spending on average 6,5 hours online daily. Children are vulnerable consumers on the net, exposed to a range of issues, including sexual abuse, privacy infringements, commercial targeting, online hatred and many forms of cyber-bullying.  

 There is not such a difference between the online and the offline world: what happens online leaves wounds in real life that are hard to heal. It is clear to me that what is illegal offline should be illegal online. We cannot allow the internet to become a safe haven for all sorts of criminals. The alleged freedom of the internet at all costs that some like to claim, always comes at the expenses of the most vulnerable, such as children. We have to draw a line and ensure that children are protected, that perpetrators are held responsible, brought to justice and pay for their crimes. Even if it were to save one child, I will always choose to have a system in place that obliges electronic services providers to use technologies to remove child sexual abuse material and detect all instance of child sexual abuse online.” – said MEP David Lega, Co-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

“The Internet is a wonderful tool for children and provides great opportunities for them, but it also poses enormous risks for children, which require the response of the legislator. In such a fast-paced environment, where technological developments often outpaces legislation making them obsolete, we need to ensure a future-proof solution that protects children from online harm. We need a multi-stakeholder approach to bring about a real change in this ecosystem, where all actors involved – legislators, private sector, NGOs, children themselves and parents – do their part and take responsibilities.”- concluded MEP Caterina Chinnici, Co-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights.

 

— ENDS —

 

For more info and media inquiries, please contact:

 

Emilio Puccio, Secretary-General of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights

emilio.puccio@europarl.europa.eu

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