Online Violence - Children

A new report published today by WHO presents ways to address the growing worldwide concern of keeping children safe online. To prevent online violence against children, the report highlights the importance of implementing educational programmes directed at children and parents. The report recommends implementing school-based educational programmes. It also underscores the importance of training youth in specific life skills.

GENEVA DECEMBER 2: A new report published today by the World Health Organization (WHO), What works to prevent online violence against children, presents ways to address the growing worldwide concern of keeping children safe online. With a specific focus on two forms of online violence: child sexual abuse including grooming and sexual image abuse; and cyber aggression and harassment in the form of cyberbullying, cyberstalking, hacking and identity theft, the report showcases strategies and best practices to better protect children.

– “Our children spend more and more time online; as such, it is our duty to make the online environment safe,” notes Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department of Social Determinants of Health. “This new document provides for the first time a clear direction for action by governments, donors and other development partners, showing that we must address online and offline violence together if we are to be effective.”

To prevent online violence against children, the report highlights the importance of implementing educational programmes directed at children and parents. Studies have shown the effectiveness of such programmes in reducing the levels of violence victimization, perpetration and associated risk behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse.

The report recommends implementing school-based educational programmes that have multiple sessions, promote interaction among youth and engage parents. It also underscores the importance of training youth in specific life skills such as assertiveness, empathy, problem-solving, emotion management and help seeking, among others.

The report shows evidence that comprehensive forms of sex education can reduce physical and sexual aggression, in particular dating and partner violence and homophobic bullying. The effectiveness of sex education has been confirmed in countries of all income levels.

Image: Petro Zadorozhnyy

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