UN health agency outlines ‘clear direction’ for reducing online violence against children — Global Issues

In his new report, How to prevent online violence against children, WHO focuses on ways to curb youth Internet grooming, sexual image abuse – as well as cyber aggression and harassment in the form of cyberbullying, cyber stalking, hacking and identity theft .

What works also introduces strategies and best practices to better protect children.

“Our children are spending more and more time online; so, Our mission is to make the online environment safe“, note Etienne Krug, Director of WHO’s Department of Social Determinants of Health.

Collective action needed

The report highlights the importance of implementing educational programs aimed at children and parents to prevent online violence.

Studies have shown them to be effective in reducing victimization, curbing abusers, and related risk behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse.

“This new document provides for the first time a clear direction of action for governments, donors and other development partners, showing that we must tackle violence online and offline together if we want to be productive,” added Mr. Krug.

Wide-ranging strategy

The report recommends implementing educational programs in schools, promoting interaction among youth and engaging parents.

It also emphasizes the importance of training young people in assertiveness, empathy, problem solving, managing emotions and seeking help, among other skills.

WHO points out that education programs are more successful with diverse forms of delivery such as videos, games, posters, infographics and guided discussions.

What worksargues that comprehensive forms of sex education can reduce physical and sexual aggression – especially in online dating, reduce partner violence, and address stigmatized bullying. gay market.

The effectiveness of sex education has been confirmed in countries across the entire development spectrum.

‘Dangerous stranger’ is overemphasized

According to the report, improvements must be made in several areas.

With the overlap of problems and solutions, more violence prevention programs are needed to address the problem, along with offline violence prevention.

Since strangers aren’t the only people or even major cybercriminals, there’s less emphasis on the dangers of strangers.

Instead, more attention should be paid to acquaintances and co-workers, as they are responsible for the majority of offenses.

Given that seeking romance and intimacy online is a major source of vulnerability, the report highlights the need to emphasize healthy relationship skills.

UNICEF is working with technology companies to make digital products safer for children.

© UNICEF/Karel Prinsloo

UNICEF is working with technology companies to make digital products safer for children.

Exploiting the good

From promoting learning to developing personal and professional skills and expressing creativity, the internet offers numerous benefits to children and young people, the report cautions.

However, governments must find the right balance between developing digital opportunities and protecting users from harm.

The United Nations health agency is committed to contributing to a better understanding of all forms of violence against children and helping shape the international response.

As part of its public health approach, WHO is currently supporting data collection on violence against children; study the factors that can increase or decrease violence; implementation and evaluation of interventions; and scaling up evidence-based interventions, such as those illustrated inInspirational: Seven strategies to end violence against children.


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