Geneva. December 3rd,The World Health Organization (WHO), Friday published a report that outlines solutions to the growing concern over online safety of children.
The report, “What works to prevent internet violence against children?” outlines best practices and strategies to help children. The report addresses two types of online violence: child sex abuse, which includes grooming and abuse of sexual images; and cyber aggression and harassment, such as cyberstalking, hacking, identity theft, cyberbullying and cyberstalking.
“Our children spend more of their time online. It is our responsibility to make this environment safe,” states Etienne Krug from the WHO Department of Social Determinants of Health. “This new document is the first to provide clear directions for governments, donors, as well as other development partners. It shows that we must all address offline and online violence together if we want to be effective.
This report emphasizes the need to implement educational programmes for children and their parents in order to prevent online violence. Studies have proven that these programs work in reducing violence victimization, crime and risk behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse.
“The report recommends school-based educational programmes that include multiple sessions, encourage youth interaction, and engage parents. The WHO noted that it is important to teach youth specific life skills, such as empathy, problem-solving and help-seeking.
Education programmes that use multiple formats of delivery such as video, posters, infographics, posters and guided discussions are more likely to be successful.
This report shows that comprehensive forms sex education can reduce physical aggression and sexual violence, including partner violence, homophobic bullying, and dating. All income levels have been able to confirm the effectiveness of sexeducation.
This report points out the need to improve on several areas, including the need for more violence prevention programs that combine content about online dangers and offline violence prevention.
This report also indicates that stranger danger is not the primary or sole perpetrator in online violence against kids.
It demands that we place more emphasis on the perpetrators of acquaintance and peer offenses, who account for most of the offences; and, more attention be paid to healthy relationships, as romance and intimacy-seeking are two of the main sources of online violence vulnerability.
WHO says that internet access provides many opportunities for children and youth, including the opportunity to learn, develop professional and personal skills, express creativity, and participate in society.
According to UN agencies, governments should strike a balance between protecting young people from harm and creating opportunities for them through digital environments.