Children and the Internet: safe surfing

Children and the Internet


Safe surfing


Now that the Internet is increasingly within everyone's reach, children are more and more exposed, on line, to risks which their parents cannot always control: harassment, abuse, pornography, incitement to racism and suicide, as well as cyber-bullying.  The last-named refers to bullying by persons of a violent disposition who go on-line with the intention of using the new information technologies to cause harm.  This kind of bullying may range from the misuse of e-mail to the publication of videos showing attacks, often filmed on mobile phones.

Young people's private lives are also increasingly laid bare by the often personal information published in their blogs, on social networks, in chatrooms, and so on.  At a very young age, web users face some complex issues: copyright on the Internet, image rights, protection of personal data and private life, and the risks inherent in the Internet’s new social forums.

In order to teach them how to react responsibly to any potentially harmful Internet content and conduct that they may encounter, the Council of Europe has devised an interactive game called Wild Web Woods.  This game uses fairy tales with which they are familiar to guide them through a maze of potential dangers towards the fabulous "electronic city".  Designed primarily for 7 to 10-year-olds, and available in 24 languages, it has been produced in the spirit of the "Building a Europe for and with children" programme.

Safer Internet Day 2013: Connect with respect

The Council of Europe is participating in Safer Internet Day, which is celebrated globally every year to promote a safe and responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices by young people.

This year´s edition, which is celebrated on 5 February, is held under the theme “Online rights and responsibilities” and will encourage young Internet users to “Connect with respect”.

The event is organised by the INSAFE network and brings together schools, NGOs, the private sector, individuals and other actors from all over the world to work towards this same goal of promoting a safer internet.


Web Content Display

Texts to protect children

The Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse responds to the potential risks faced by children when using the Internet by imposing criminal penalties for online access to child pornography, grooming, i.e the soliciting of children for sexual purposes via Internet chatrooms or online games sites.

In order to promote respect for human rights in the virtual world, the Council of Europe and European Internet Service Providers (ISPs), have developed two sets of guidelines for ISPs and online game designers and publishers.