Today’s children have entirely integrated the Internet in their interaction with others. They have adopted specific communication habits which have significant influence on their role in society and the way in which they can exercise their rights.
The Internet provides a great many opportunities for children to spend their leisure time, to learn, to express themselves and to influence decision making, in short: to enjoy their right to participation. Yet it is also a space where children are more easily exposed to violence, abuse or exploitation and therefore at risk of having their rights violated, in particular their right to be protected and to live in a safe environment, in accordance with their best interests.
Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse
The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (2007) contains provisions criminalising the use of new technologies – the Internet in particular – to sexually harm or abuse children. It is open to any country in the world.
It is the only international treaty to make sexual abuse a criminal offence, with criminal penalties for:
– those who recruit children into prostitution and those who have recourse to them;
– the production, supply, distribution and possession of child pornography and online access to it;
– soliciting children on chat rooms or online game sites for sexual purposes.
Transversal programme “Building a Europe for and with children“
The programme “Building a Europe for and with children”, launched in 2006, aims to ensure an integrated approach to promoting children´s rights in the Council of Europe´s policies and help decision makers to develop national strategies.
- measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communications environment (2009);
- measures to promote the respect of freedom of expression and information with regard to Internet filters (2008), with specific provisions on children;