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Alexandra Chernyavskaya

March 31st, 2015

Children’s safety on the internet: a guide to stakeholders

1 comment | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Alexandra Chernyavskaya

March 31st, 2015

Children’s safety on the internet: a guide to stakeholders

1 comment | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Interactive image map depicting internet safety

Link to Link to COFACE Link to EUKO Link to CATS CEOP Link link to UKCCIS Link to ASA Link to ATVOD Link to CHIS Link to ISPs Link to IWF Link to Ofcom Link to CoE Link to BetterInt Link to CEO Link to EASA Link to eNACSO Lin to ENISA Link to ICT Link to SSN Link to COPINE Link to Schoolnet Link to Insafe Link to ROBERT Link to SPIRTO Link to IGF Link to INTERPOL Link to ITUCOP Link to OECD Link to VGT Link to UNESCO Link to FOSI Link to GSMA Link to Childnet Link to UNICEF Link to WFA Link to Pew Ling to IID Link to COFACE

Click on an organisation to jump to description

The generation of children born in the 2000s has had unprecedented access to digital means of communication. In the developed world at least, where the internet has been widely available since the late 1990s, this generation has never known the world without it. Now, the majority of developing countries are rapidly gaining internet access, possibly in different ways, and with as yet unknown consequences.

Many children perceive the internet as a natural and integral part of their life, as a major method for daily communication with a wide variety of individuals, and for exploring a wide range of interests. This ubiquity, however, is raising many concerns for parents, guardians, educators and legislators alike. Despite the fact that it is generally agreed that children’s access to new technologies offers them a world of opportunities, the digital world also contains certain hazards, and at times, certain dangers.

The risks encountered on the internet are diverse, and are often divided into three groups [1]:

  • Content: there is a concern about what kind of content risks children may encounter online. This includes inappropriate, potentially dangerous and illegal content such as websites that promote anorexia or self-harm. Within the international discourse and within many national jurisdictions, this category of online risk has attracted considerable attention.
  • Usage/conduct: many concerns have arisen around the ways that children use the internet. The risks children face are changing and diversifying, and increasingly include those associated with the various types of content that they create and share among themselves. This includes cyberbullying, ‘sexting’ and the role of children as consumers within the e-commerce sector.
  • Interaction/communication: there is the potential problem of children’s interactions with other individuals online. This includes online grooming and arranging to meet potentially or actually abusive strangers.

Some of these problems have become more pronounced since children have started to use mobile devices connected to the internet.[2]

The initiatives and measures to address these risks are developed within three key areas:

  • Governmental regulation, coordination and standard setting: this includes the various legislative measures introduced within individual states as well as by international organisations, such as the European Union (EU) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This type of regulation often has a technical aspect to it – for instance, when illegal content is blocked by internet service providers (ISPs) at the country level. It also covers organisations that are connected to law enforcement, including, for example, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), which is part of the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK, as well as Europol and INTERPOL, which work closely with law enforcement agencies and carry out cross-border investigations.
  • Multi-stakeholder governance (including co- and self-regulation): measures within this group are generally implemented by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or by individual companies or groups of companies, for example, the GSMA or, in the UK, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and at EU level, the CEO Coalition and the ICT Coalition.
  • Education, awareness-raising and research: the representatives of this group of stakeholders are involved in a variety of initiatives including, but not limited to, research, publication of guides on responsible use of the internet, and development of training for parents and educators.

It should be emphasised that each of the key stakeholders involved in child protection may be involved simultaneously at several levels, from national through to European to international levels.



Governmental regulation, coordination and standard setting

  • CEOP

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is part of the National Crime Agency (NCA), and works to protect children from harm, both online and offline, directly through NCA-led operations and in partnership with the local and international police force and other agencies. When it comes to online safety, CEOP focuses on organised criminal groups profiteering from the publication or distribution of child abuse images, supporting local police forces with computer forensics and covert investigations, and providing authoritative investigative advice and support to maximise the response of UK law enforcement to crimes of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

CEOP is one of the few stakeholders attempting to incorporate all key groups of measures and initiatives. In addition to its members’ comprehensive law enforcement function, it works closely with commercial and non-governmental players. In addition, it runs an educational project, Thinkuknow, providing a wide range of resources for children of different age groups, for parents and for teachers.

– For children: 5-7 years old; 8-10 years old; 11-13 years old; 14+ years old

– For parents and carers

– For teachers and trainers



The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is the UK government’s principal vehicle for online child safety. It brings together more than 200 organisations from across government, industry, law, academia and charity sectors working in partnership to help keep children safe online.

– Good practice guidance for the providers of social networking and other user-interactive services

– Good practice guidance for the moderation of interactive services for children

– Good practice guidance for the providers of search


Multi-stakeholder governance (including co- and self-regulation)

  • ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority is involved in the self-regulation of advertising across all media in the UK. It actively monitors the media, and takes action against any kind of misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements, and accepts complaints from consumers about advertisements in various forms of media. It covers the following types of internet ads:

  • banner and display ads
  • paid-for (sponsored) search
  • marketing on companies’ own websites and in other spaces they control, such as the social networking sites Twitter and Facebook
  • commercial email and SMS text message ads.

The regulation practices imposed by the Authority are outlined in the Advertising Codes and written by two industry committees: the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice. According to the Codes, all UK advertisers have to make sure that ads addressed to, targeted directly at, or featuring children do not contain anything that will cause them physical, mental or moral harm.

–     ASA provides guidance for parents in regards to filing a complaint about advertising practices



The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) is an independent co-regulator for the content of video on-demand services.

Its duties and powers are based on the Communications Act 2003 and its amendments. The Act states that the Office of Communications (Ofcom) shall bear responsibility for the regulation of On-Demand Programme Services, and that it may delegate certain functions to an appropriate regulatory authority. In accordance with the Act, ATVOD was established for that very purpose. If necessary, ATVOD can also use its powers under the Act to issue statutory enforcement notifications.

–     Statutory Rules and Non-Binding Guidance for Providers of On-Demand Programme Services (ODPS)


  • BBFC

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) operates as an independent and not-for-profit media content regulator. It classifies content, including mobile and internet content, in accordance with the existing classification and labelling system. Through this system it provides consumers with the reference point in their decision-making about the various types of media content being produced and circulated. All classification decisions are based on BBFC’s published and regularly updated Guidelines.

According to the research commissioned by the BBFC in 2011, there was public demand for applying the existing classification to online content.


  • CHIS

The Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety (CHIS) was officially established in 1999, and is currently comprised of 11 charities working in the area of child protection, and specialising in a range of issues, including the arrangement of adoption and fostering, trafficking of children, sex tourism and bullying, to name a few. However, despite this diversity, the main focus of the Coalition’s work is the internet. CHIS activities are based on the assumption that several organisations united in their goal are likely to achieve greater results in influencing policy-making than each of them acting in isolation. It actively interacts with the internet industry, governmental bodies, the media and law enforcement bodies as well as a range of other key stakeholders. CHIS played a major role in the establishment of the Home Secretary’s Internet Task for Child Safety, which was later replaced by UKCCIS. It also actively participated in the creation of CEOP.


  • ISPs

On 22 July 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the four largest British ISPs (BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media) had agreed to offer both existing and new customers family-friendly network-level filtering. These filters allow consumers to manage access in their home to a range of internet services that may include age-inappropriate content or contact risks. However, there are still plenty of questions surrounding this measure, including the reliability of the filters that were introduced, the possibility of over-blocking and parents having a good enough understanding of the limitations of the filters.

Following the consultation about parental internet controls issued by UKCCIS, they adopted a Code of Practice on Parental Controls aimed at the largest fixed line ISPs in the UK (as listed above). The document mostly focuses on measures that are implemented in order to improve parents’ and carers’ awareness of the internet control options available to them.

–     Ofcom report on internet safety measures


  • IWF

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) was established as an NGO, and can be seen as a self-regulatory body. It operates an internet hotline for the public and IT professionals to report criminal online content in a secure and confidential way. The hotline service can be used anonymously to report illegal content. In order to ensure efficient notice and takedown practices for child sexual abuse materials, and to assist children who are being abused, IWF works in partnership with the online industry, law enforcement, government and international partners. It also aims to minimise the availability of criminally obscene adult content hosted in the UK.

Until recently, the IWF worked exclusively with reports submitted through the hotline. However, since 1 April 2014, hotline analysts can proactively search for child sexual abuse materials.

–     Dealing with indecent images of children in the workplace: A best practice guide

–     2012 Annual and Charity Report


Education, awareness-raising and research

  • Ofcom

Ofcom is the statutory body that supervises the regulation of communications in the UK. The range of communications includes television and radio, fixed line telecoms and mobiles, as well as postal services and regulation of the airwaves. Ofcom is not involved in the regulation of internet content, but its website provides a range of online safety and security resources.

–     Parental controls for mobile phones

Ofcom regularly carries out research on children’s and parents’ media literacy:

–     Media Literacy Research Index


  • UK SIC

The UK Safer Internet Centre (UK SIC) was co-funded by the European Commission and is operated in cooperation with Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). The key functions of the Centre are the operation of an awareness centre, a helpline and a hotline (organised by IWF).

The wide range of activities managed by the Centre include the development of educational and awareness-raising resources for parents, carers and educators, the development of self-assessment tools for schools and delivering educational/training sessions within a range of settings.

The Professionals Online Safety Helpline, established by the Centre, attempts to provide help to professionals working with children and young people across the UK. Where possible, queries submitted to the helpline are responded to within three hours (during office opening hours) or slightly longer in the event that the issue to be resolved proves to be more complex, and consultation with key partners is required.

–     Resources for young people

–     Resources for parents and carers

–     Resources for teachers and professionals


  • SWGfL

The South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) is a non-profit organisation providing schools and other educational establishments with a variety of e-safety services and resources. The range of online safety products designed by SWGfL includes a self-review tool intended to help schools review their e-safety policy and practice, and an alert system for monitoring online content accessed from within schools.

It also cooperates with Plymouth University and a number of other organisations to conduct publishable research dedicated to the topic of online safety.

–     Education resources

–     Online safety products and services



Governmental regulation, coordination and standard setting

  • Council of Europe

The Council of Europe promotes safer internet practices for children through their ‘Building a Europe for and with children’ programme. The programme was launched in 2006.

In its 2012-15 strategy, the programme focuses on:

  • promoting child-friendly services and systems
  • eliminating all forms of violence against children
  • guaranteeing the rights of children in vulnerable situations
  • promoting child participation.

Through the programme, the Council of Europe draws attention to the importance of empowering children to exercise their participatory rights in media environments. At the same time, this improved participation must be balanced with better management of personal data on the internet and in other media. Particular attention within the programme is paid to the phenomenon of the ‘hypersexualisation’ of children in the media.

–     Violence in media and cyberspace


  • EU Better Internet for Kids Programme

In May 2012 the European Commission introduced the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children. The main aim was to provide children with the digital skills and tools needed to fully and safely benefit from being online. The Programme also proposed to unlock the potential of the market for interactive, creative and educational online content. Although a range of policies and measures has been implemented, both at national and European level, all of them must be included in a wider EU-wide strategy in order to avoid segmentation. Within the programme the aim is that regulation should remain an option, but where appropriate, it should preferably be avoided in favour of more adaptable self-regulatory tools, as well as education and empowerment initiatives.

The strategy is articulated around four key action points:

  • stimulating quality content online for young people
  • stepping up awareness and empowerment
  • creating a safe environment for children online
  • fighting against child sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation.

European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children – PDF


  • Europol

The European Commission established a European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol in 2013 as a focal point in the fight against various forms of cybercrime in Europe. The Centre tackles the following areas of cybercrime:

  • child sexual exploitation
  • online fraud committed by organised groups
  • cybercrimes that affect critical infrastructure and information systems within the EU.

When it comes to fighting child sexual exploitation, the Centre aims to identify existing criminal networks and to dismantle them. It also focuses on the identification of victims of sexual abuse, and supports international projects such as the Internet Related Child Abuse Material Project (CIRCAMP) and the European Financial Coalition (EFC).


Multi-stakeholder governance (including co- and self-regulation)

  • CEO Coalition

The CEO Coalition was established in December 2011 as a self-regulatory initiative within the European Commission’s Better Internet for Kids Programme. Companies that joined the Coalition agreed to take positive action to make the internet a safer place for children.

Companies’ signatories to the Coalition committed to take positive action in the development of reporting tools for users, age-appropriate privacy settings, reliable content classification, availability of parental control and effective procedures for taking down child sexual abuse materials.

Signatory companies of the Coalition are: Apple, BSkyB, BT, Dailymotion, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, France Telecom – Orange, Google, Hyves, KPN, Liberty Global, LG Electronics, Mediaset, Microsoft, Netlog, Nintendo, Nokia, Opera Software, Research In Motion, RTL Group, Samsung, Skyrock, Stardoll, Sulake, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Telecom Italia, Telenor Group, Tuenti, Vivendi and Vodafone.

–     Statement of purpose of the Coalition

–     Better Internet for Kids: CEO Coalition 1 year on


  • EASA

The European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) is a self-regulatory authority that aims to promote appropriate ethical standards for advertising practices across Europe and beyond. It advocates self-regulation as a better alternative to the detailed legislative regulation of advertising. The Alliance has also been involved in several research projects dedicated to the monitoring of advertisements of food and alcohol and their compliance with the existing Code of Practice.

–     2102 EU Pledge Survey

EASA recognises the need for particularly careful regulation of advertisements that may target a younger audience. This need is expressed in a specific set of guidelines within the advertising codes. These guidelines fall under three main headings: Inexperience and credulity, Avoidance of harm; and Social values. The new Audiovisual Media Services Directive also included rules for advertisements through internet-based services.


  • eNACSO

The European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online is a network consisting of 27 children’s rights NGOs from across the EU working for a safer online environment for children. Their key goal is to promote actions supporting the protection and promotion of children’s rights in relation to the internet and new technologies at national, European and international levels.

eNACSO attempts to address challenges in the following areas:

  • internet governance and online child protection
  • fight against online child sexual abuse material
  • identification and protection of child victims of sexual online abuse
  • protection and prevention measures in children’s use of interactive technologies
  • online grooming, manipulation and sexual exploitation
  • children’s participation in policy development.

–     Annual report 2012-2013



The EU Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) aims to address and respond to network and information security problems within the EU through cooperation between both public and private sectors. Despite the fact that the Agency focuses largely on technical network security, it has also produced a number of resources dedicated to content risks.

–     Cyber-bullying and online grooming: helping to protect against the risks

–     Children on virtual worlds – What parents should know


  • ICT Coalition for Children

The ICT Coalition for Children online is a self-regulatory initiative aiming to help younger internet users across Europe to make the most of the online world. Members of the Coalition encourage safe and responsible use of online services and internet devices among children and young people.

–     Coalition principles

–     22 member companies of the Coalition

–     First Report on the Implementation of the ICT Principles


  • SSN Principles for the EU

Safer Social Networking (SSN) Principles have been developed as guidelines for providers of social networking and other user-interactive sites in order to protect children and young people.

–     Evaluation of the Implementation of the Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU Part 1: General Report[1]

These have been superseded by the later CEO and ICT Coalitions.


Education, awareness-raising and research

  • CATS

The Centre for Abuse & Trauma Studies (CATS) is a centre for research at Middlesex University specialising in wellbeing, lifespan development, crime and victimisation and experiences online.

A recent research project undertaken by the centre was ‘Developing research-informed good practice policing and industry collaborative models in preventing online child abuse and profiling child victims’. It aims to draw together the existing evidence on online grooming, the viewing of child sexual abuse images, and to identify policing and industry best practices in prevention of such unlawful behaviours. The project seeks to promote cooperation between law enforcement and industry in developing and adopting good practice models for children’s online safety.



The Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) represents the interest of families within the EU. It currently includes 56 member organisations from 22 EU countries. COFACE focuses mainly on the implementation of family and social policies, but it also runs several projects related to internet safety, including:

–     First testing cycle, Report Executive Summary

–     Second testing cycle, Report Executive Summary



The Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe (COPINE) project was founded in 1997 at University College Cork in Ireland. It was one of the first projects to emphasise the role abusive images play in child sexual exploitation, and the growing usage of the internet for distribution of such images.

The development of the COPINE scale was an attempt to provide a typology of internet child pornography images, categorising the severity of images of child sex abuse.


  • EU Kids Online

EU Kids Online is an international research network that currently operates in 33 countries across and beyond Europe. The project was originally funded by the Safer Internet Programme and then the Better Internet for Kids Programme. Its key goal is to enhance the knowledge of the ways children use the online environment, and what risks and opportunities they may encounter through that.

From 2006-09 the project operated in 21 European countries and summarised over 400 studies in an original and reliable evidence base. It also evaluated findings from a range of studies in order to develop reliable recommendations for European policy-making. From 2009-2011 the project expanded further and surveyed over 25,000 children and parents across Europe. From 2011-14 the project reached 33 counties and conducted a series of qualitative interviews with children, in addition to continuing analysis of its quantitative research, adding to the evidence database.

–     Findings, Methods, Recommendations


  • European Schoolnet

European Schoolnet is a network of 31 European Ministries of Education implementing a range of educational programmes aimed at innovation in teaching and learning practices. The majority of these programmes emphasise the importance of active and innovative use of ICTs in schools. Digital competence and eSafety are among the key areas of the organisation’s work.

The eSafety Label project, initiated by European Schoolnet, for example, aims to assist schools in providing adequate and safe access to online technology in schools across Europe. It enables policy-makers to deepen their understanding of eSafety issues faced by schools.

–     Work programme 2013

In October 2014 European Schoolnet launched a new project to combat bullying and to improve young people’s wellbeing within the digital environment. The European Network Against Bullying in Learning and Leisure Environments (ENABLE) project is funded by the EU, coordinated by European Schoolnet, and implemented by participants across the EU: Centre for Digitale Paedagogik (Denmark); Princess Diana Awards (UK); South West Grid for Learning (UK); Partners in Learning (Croatia); and Adolescent Health (Greece).


  • Insafe

Insafe is a European network comprised of 31 national awareness centres (27 from EU member states, as well as Iceland, Norway, Russia and Serbia). Every national centre implements awareness and educational campaigns, runs a helpline, and works closely with young people to ensure an evidence-based, multi-stakeholder approach to creating a better internet.

The mission of the Insafe cooperation network is to empower children and young people to use the internet, as well as other online and mobile technologies, positively, safely and effectively. It calls for shared responsibility for the protection of the rights and needs of citizens, in particular, children and young people, by government, educators, parents, media, industry and all other relevant actors. Insafe partners work closely together to share best practice, information and resources.



The Risktaking Online Behaviour Empowerment Through Research and Training (ROBERT) project was funded by the Safer Internet Programmebetween June 2010 and June 2012. Its objective was to make online interactions safer for children and young people. The project explored the range of issues from perpetrators’ strategies in relation to the grooming of children online to factors that make young people vulnerable in the online environment.



Self-Produced Images – Risk Taking Online (SPIRTO) is a research project funded for 24 months (December 2012-November 2014) by the EU’s Safer Internet Programme.

Its aim was to build an evidence base of the risks for adolescents posed by the increased usage of technology, in particular, mobile or hand-held devices. The focus of the project was on the risks related to the new possibilities to generate sexual content, and understanding of the different contexts behind the creation of these images and the consequences for the young people involved.

–     Quantitative analysis of identified children data



Governmental regulation, coordination and standard setting

  • IGF

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was established in 2006 as a global multi-stakeholder discussion platform dedicated to policy issues related to internet governance.

–     Report from the Inter-Regional Dialogue Session at IGF 2014

–     Report of the 2014 meeting

Dynamic Coalitions within the IGF have been formed as issue-specific groups comprising members of various stakeholders. One of the active Dynamic Coalitions is dedicated exclusively to child online safety.

In 2006 the Youth IGF Project was introduced by Childnet International in order to promote the participation of young people in discussions of internet-related issues and policies.

–     Youth IGF 2014

–     Youth Coalition on Internet Governance, report of 2014 meeting



INTERPOL has recently established a Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore. The Complex has become an international initiative for blocking access to child sexual abuse materials internationally. INTERPOL provides ISPs within countries with a list of domains that contain child sexual abuse materials.

INTERPOL is also a member of COSPOL, the Internet Related Child Abusive Material Project, whose goals is to detect, disrupt and dismantle networks, organisations or structures used for the production and/or distribution of child abuse materials and also to identify children and to stop further abuse.

–     Access blocking


  • ITU (COP)

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations (UN) agency for ICTs. In 2008 ITU launched the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative to promote the online safety of children around the world. Through this initiative ITU adopts a holistic approach to internet safety, covering legal, technical and procedural measures, organisational structures and international cooperation. COP promotes a model national framework to assist in the development of a positive online environment for children and young people. It also encourages the creation of COP units at national level, and is developing a series of indicators to assist with the measurement of progress in implementing online child protection initiatives at global, regional and national levels.

–     Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection

–     Guidelines for Policy Makers on Child Online Protection

–     Guidelines for Children on Child Online Protection

–     Guidelines for Parents, Guardians and Educators on Child Online Protection


  • OECD

To protect children online, in February 2012 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) adopted a set of high-level principles calling for evidence-based policy-making and enhanced domestic and international coordination to improve national policy frameworks. OECD work in this area focuses on the protection of children as users of the internet. It does not address child pornography in general, or the sexual exploitation of children on the internet.

The OECD advocates a multi-stakeholder approach, and among the key participants it identifies are government and public authorities, parents and caregivers, educators and public institutions, the private sector and finally, children themselves.

–     Report on risks faced by children online and policies to protect them


  • VGT

The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) was established as a platform for interaction and partnership between the law enforcement agencies as well as NGOs working to protect children from online sexual exploitation.

Its objectives are:

  • to make the internet a safer place
  • to identify, locate and help children at risk
  • to hold perpetrators appropriately to account.

Despite the fact that the VGT mainly unites law enforcement bodies, it also emphasises the importance of cooperation with representatives of the internet industry as well as non-governmental sector and academia.

–     Environmental scan 2012

–     VGT factsheet

–     Making the internet a safer place for children


Multi-stakeholder governance (including co- and self-regulation)


ECPAT International is a global network of organisations whose work is dedicated to the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. ECPAT recognises the role of the internet in the distribution of child sexual abuse images, and is attempting to implement effective practices for their elimination.

ECPAT has issued a range of analytical reports dedicated to the topic of online sexual abuse:

–     Child Pornography and Sexual Exploitation of Children Online

–     Stay safe from online sexual exploitation: A guide for young people

–     Child Abuse Images and Sexual Exploitation of Children Online


  • FOSI

The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) is an NGO consisting of more than 30 members of the global internet and communications market, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, BT, Orange, Microsoft and Twitter. Its work focuses on public policy, the development of advice for industry, publicising best practice and encouraging good digital parenting.

–     FOSI’s What is Good Digital Parenting? initiative empowers parents to confidently navigate the online world with their children.

–     Parenting in the Digital Age: How Parents Weigh the Potential Benefits and Harms of Their Children’s Technology Use

FOSI has also established the Global Resource & Information Directory (GRID) which provides a comprehensive overview of international practices, key stakeholders and trusted sources dedicated to creating safer internet environment. It presents all the relevant information in the appropriate cultural context through interactive maps and timelines.


  • GSMA

Internationally, the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Covering more than 200 countries, it unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, software companies, equipment providers, internet companies and financial services, to name a few.

As growing numbers of mobile operators offer their customers access to a rich and compelling range of content services, they are faced with the challenge of how to manage content that would have been subject to age restrictions if accessed through different channels. GSMA is part of ITU and COP.

–       European Framework for Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children

–       Principles for the Safer Use of Connected Devices and Online Services by Children and Young People in the EU

–     Mobile Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Content



The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) initiated the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography (FCACP) that includes commercial organisations involved in the management of various forms of electronic financial transaction. All members of the Coalition have agreed to contribute to preventing the distribution of commercial child pornography payments that can be transferred through any of these electronic systems.

–     Confronting New Challenges in the Fight Against Child Pornography: Best Practices

–     Child pornography: Model legislation & global review

–       Online Child Protection 2012



The International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE) currently unites 51 hotlines in 45 countries of the world that are dedicated to the elimination of child sexual abuse material on the internet. Each of the member hotlines provides a mechanism that allows members of the public to report the illegal content encountered online. Through the extensive network of stakeholders (including law enforcement bodies) around the globe, members ensure that content is removed as fast as possible.

–     Statistics 2014



UNICEF carries out research in the field of child rights and the internet, the most comprehensive study being Child Safety Online: Global Challenges and Strategies.

In their report for UNICEF, A global agenda for children’s rights in the digital age, Professor Sonia Livingstone and Dr Monica Bulger argued for the pressing necessity of developing an agenda for children’s rights in the digital age, noting that due to its global reach, reputation and visibility, UNICEF is well placed to lead this endeavour. However, before such an agenda could be produced, it would be necessary to obtain comparable data from different regions, and to develop a methodological toolkit that could support comparable and robust research in the different countries.

UNICEF, in collaboration with Global Compact and Save the Children, developed Children’s Rights and Business Principles that also address the IT industry.


  • WFA

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) is a global association of international advertising companies as well as national advertiser associations aiming to promote responsible and effective marketing communications.

The Federation runs the Responsible Advertising and Children Programme (RAC) which helps members to grasp societal and parental perceptions of responsible marketing communications for children. This goal is achieved through active dialogue with policy-makers, society and consumers.


Education, awareness-raising and research

  • CCRS

The Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC), at the University of New Hampshire in the US, aims to provide quality research dedicated to crimes against children including child abduction, homicide, rape, assault and physical and sexual abuse, as well as their impact. The Center therefore provides a research base for policy implementation and efficient child welfare practices.

The research carried out by CCRS demonstrates that the popular view of online ‘predators’ who prey on naive children using trickery and violence is largely inaccurate. This suggests that the prevailing emphasis on parental control and the danger of disclosing personal information may be somewhat problematic. Therefore preventive tactics should instead provide younger adolescents with awareness and avoidance skills, while educating older youth about the pitfalls of relationships with adults and their criminal nature.

–     Online ‘Predators’ and their Victims: Myths, Realities and Implications for Prevention and Treatment

–     Trends in Unwanted Sexual Solicitations: Findings from the Youth Internet Safety Studies

–     Trends in Unwanted Exposure to Sexual Material: Findings from the Youth Internet Safety Studies

–     Measuring a year of child pornography trafficking by US computers on a peer-to-peer network


  • Childnet International

Childnet International aims to make the internet a safer place for children and young people. Established in 1995, it is an independent charity seeking to promote the opportunities offered by digital technology, while also making sure that children can navigate the internet safely.

Childnet International offers a range of useful resources for young people, parents and educators. These are dedicated to the development of a range of digital skills. The Education Team also delivers educational sessions in primary and secondary schools across the UK in order to help young people develop good decision-making skills in relation to using digital technologies.

–     Childnet International response on Culture, Media and Sport Committee Inquiry on Online Safety

–     Policy & consultation responses

–     E-Safety in the computing curriculum

–     Other resources


  • Innocence in Danger

Today Innocence in Danger (IID)  is a non-profit NGO with 12 offices around the world. It gathers activists, technology specialists, jurists, policy-makers and economic and media professionals to raise international awareness about paedophilia. It focuses on the promotion of child rights and education about safety risks in association with governmental bodies, non-European and international organisations.


  • Pew Research Centre’s Internet & American Life Project

The Pew Research Center conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical research dedicated to a wide range of topics. The Pew Internet division of the Center conducts research exploring the growth of the internet and its impact on children, families, communities, the workplace, schools, health care and civic/political life.

–     Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

–     Teens and Mobile Apps Privacy

–     Where Teens Seek Online Privacy Advice


  • SID

The Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world. provides a global online community platform where countries and international organisations can showcase events and actions conducted locally, nationally and internationally for Safer Internet Day.

–     Safer Internet Day 2015



Following a meeting of experts that took place at UNESCO in January 1999, entitled ‘Sexual abuse of children, child pornography and paedophilia on the internet: an international challenge’, UNESCO has launched the Innocence in Danger project under the organisation’s auspices to protect children and to fight the growing threat of paedophilia on the internet.

The project unites hundreds of NGOs and specialists whose work is aimed at the protection of children online.


This guide was compiled by Alexandra Chernyavskaya and Professor Sonia Livingstone, with thanks to the EU Kids Online network and the internet safety experts who were consulted.

[1] Staksrud, E. and Lobe, B. (2010) Evaluation of the implementation of the Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU Part I: General Report. Luxembourg: European Commission Safer Internet Programme.

[2] Livingstone, S. and Haddon, L. (2009) EU Kids Online: Final report 2009. Deliverable D6.5. London: EU Kids Online Network, London, UK. Available at

[2] O’Neill, B., Staksrud, E. and McLaughlin, S. (eds) (2013) Towards a better internet for children? Policy pillars, players and paradoxes. Gothenburg: Nordicom.

About the author

Alexandra Chernyavskaya

Posted In: Children and the Media | LSE Media Policy Project