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How to keep online activities safe for children

Keeping children safe online in the context of COVID-19 and other IDOs requires focused action by all actors.

Keeping children safe online in the context of COVID-19 and other IDOs requires focused action by all actors.

As child protection practitioners or humanitarian workers, before engaging in online activities, we must ensure we are providing a safe online experience for children being engaged through online methods.

Update safeguarding policies

Organisations should create or update their current safeguarding policies to reflect the new realities for children being engaged remotely from home.

Specific online safeguarding considerations include:

  • Establishing and communicating a code of conduct for digital and online platforms and communications. The expectations for digital and online platforms and communications should be the same as for “in-person” behavior.
  • Regulating and ensuring transparency of one-on-one online interactions between staff members or associates and any child or children.
  • Widely sharing online participation schedules so the events can be appropriately monitored.
  • Not using private instant messaging services in adult-child communications. If for some reason this is unavoidable, staff must seek consent from parents or caregivers to engage in such private exchanges.
  • Monitoring and addressing negative online behaviour (i.e., preventing and responding to cyberbullying).
  • Moderating all websites, phone lines and platforms where children are commenting or sharing information, photos and stories to maximise safety and privacy and to minimise risks.
  • Ensuring that procedures for reporting and responding to harm or abuse exist for each platform or product. The implementation of these procedures should be supported by training, oversight and evaluation.
  • Ensuring children have access, where available, to online or phone-based counseling services and/or channels for seeking confidential support.
  • Clearly communicating online safety policies and providing resources and information on digital safety to support parents and caregivers in encouraging safe online experiences.
  • Empowering children online. Provide children with basic information on how to navigate the online world safely and how to seek help if they feel at risk online.
  • Supporting parents and caregivers to help children stay safe online.

Your Task

  • What key steps can be taken by you or your organisation to reduce risks to children from online engagement?
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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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