Children are at increased risk of harm online during global COVID-19 pandemic. Newly released technical note aims to help governments, ICT companies, educators and parents protect children in lockdown.
Download the technical note here
NEW YORK, 15 April 2020 – Millions of children are at increased risk of harm as their lives move increasingly online during lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF and partners said today.
“The coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented rise in screen time,” said Global Partnership to End Violence Executive Director Dr. Howard Taylor. “School closures and strict containment measures mean more and more families are relying on technology and digital solutions to keep children learning, entertained and connected to the outside world, but not all children have the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to keep themselves safe online.”
More than 1.5 billion children and young people have been affected by school closures worldwide. Many of these students are now taking classes as well as socializing more online. Spending more time on virtual platforms can leave children vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and grooming, as predators look to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of face-to-face contact with friends and partners may lead to heightened risk-taking such as sending sexualized images, while increased and unstructured time online may expose children to potentially harmful and violent content as well as greater risk of cyberbullying.
UNICEF together with its partners, Global Partnership to End Violence against children, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), WePROTECT Global Alliance, World Health Organization (WHO), and World Childhood Foundation USA, is releasing a new technical note aimed at urging governments, ICT industries, educators and parents to be alert, take urgent measures to mitigate potential risks, and ensure children’s online experiences are safe and positive during COVID-19.
“Under the shadow of COVID-19, the lives of millions of children have temporarily shrunk to just their homes and their screens. We must help them navigate this new reality,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “We call on governments and industry to join forces to keep children and young people safe online through enhanced safety features and new tools to help parents and educators teach their children how to use the internet safely.”
The preliminary recommended actions to mitigate online risks for children during COVID-19 include:
For further information, please contact:
Communication Officer at UNICEF Belarus , Tel: +375336307178, firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Wylie, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 244 2215, email@example.com
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.