Council of Europe

Last updated: 2023-02-01

About our SID activities

Safeguarding and promoting the rights of the child in the digital environment and keeping them safe online are at the heart of our work. The right to access and safe use of technologies remains one of the key priorities of our current Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022–2027)
We celebrate this year's Safer Internet Day by continuing to translate and disseminate as widely as possible some of our latest materials and tools. Our 2020 Handbook for the policy makers on the rights of the child in the digital environment is now available in Ukrainian. This Handbook completes the Council of Europe Guidelines to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment from 2018 and aims to support policy makers in our member states in the formulation of national frameworks and policies, as well as provide interpretative and practical step-by-step guidance to ensure the respect of children’s rights online. This practical tool is particularly timely in the current context when more children spend considerable time online due to the ongoing aggression of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, as well as during the recent lockdowns and restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our leaflet “Learn about your rights in the digital environment” for children and young people under the age of 18 represents a child-friendly and appealing presentation of the Council of Europe Guidelines to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment. It exists in 17 languages and presents the key rights that children have in the digital environment and can claim from governments, schools, business and other stakeholders, and points to possible action that notably adults must take to ensure that children stay safe while using digital technology. The leaflet and its way of presenting these rights to children, as well as various language versions have been designed in collaboration with groups of children who were consulted in the publication process.
For children with disabilities, the digital environment can both be an ‘enabler' and ‘equaliser', providing them with additional opportunities to access information, to communicate, learn and play. Their experiences were revealed through a participatory project and summarised in a report in 2019, setting out recommendations to states, digital industry, health services and academic institutions on how to ensure safe access to the digital environment. 

What we are doing to support the SID 2023 slogan of "Together for a better internet"…

We are strongly committed to fighting sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children online, through the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention), and bilateral and regional projects. The Committee of Parties to the Lanzarote Convention, the Lanzarote Committee, addressed the online dimension of child sexual abuse and exploitation in early years, by adopting in 2015 its Opinion on Article 23 of the Lanzarote Convention - Solicitation of children for sexual purposes through information and communication technologies (ICTs), an Interpretative Opinion adopted in 2017 on the applicability of the Lanzarote Convention to sexual offences against children facilitated by ICTs, and in 2019 its Opinion on child sexually suggestive or explicit images and/or videos generated, shared and received by children. In addition, the 2nd monitoring round of the Lanzarote Committee focused on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse facilitated by information and communication technologies (ICTs) – Addressing the challenges raised by child self-generated images and/or videos. The corresponding Implementation Report containing specific recommendations and promising practices was presented at the High-level Launching Conference “Beyond the Horizon: a New Era for the Rights of the Child” in Rome on 8 April 2022. In this framework, States Parties to the Lanzarote Convention commit to criminalise any type of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse against children, online and offline, and the fact of knowingly accessing online child sexual abuse material.

Following the European Commission’s proposal for a temporary derogation to provisions in the e-Privacy Directive to allow for the processing of personal and other data for the purpose of combating child sexual abuse online, the Lanzarote Committee commissioned the preparation of the Report “Respecting human rights and the rule of law when using automated technology to detect online child sexual exploitation and abuse”. This report, prepared by independent experts, provides in-depth expertise on appropriate solutions to reconcile the various human rights at stake while integrating safeguards in actions carried out in the public interest.

While the proposed EU Regulation laying down the rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse was released in 2022, the Secretariat of the Lanzarote Committee was invited to participate in a series of multi-sectoral expert workshops to dive into specific issues raised by this instrument, the first of which was held in October 2022. 

The outcome of the expert workshop will be presented at the 37th plenary meeting of the Lanzarote Committee (31 January – 2 February 2023), and an exchange of views on the main elements of the proposal will take place with a representative of the European Commission. 

Parents and caregivers can find useful information in our 2020 manual Parenting in the digital age - positive parenting strategies for different scenarios which promotes the idea that positive parenting practices, based on open communication and trust, should be extended into the online world. The manual provides hands-on advice on how to react, as a parent or caregiver, to critical situations encountered by children. Likewise, parents and caregivers are called upon to closely watch their own behaviours as they share online (images for example) or regularly use digital technologies throughout the day. 

Our 2017 publication "Parenting in the Digital Age" (accompanied by six video tutorials) that targets five online risks of a sexual nature ("sextortion", "sexting", sex-chatting, grooming and sexualised images used in revenge - "revenge porn") remains particularly valuable source of useful information for parents and caregivers in current circumstances.

Our recent “Kiko and the Manymes” materials featuring children’s beloved character friend Kiko who embarks on new adventures discovering screens and the misuse of pictures in the online environment have proved to be particularly successful and useful. These awareness-raising materials developed in the framework of our regional Project End Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse@Europe (EndOCSEA@Europe) (which ended in June 2021), have been translated into 19 languages, including Japanese to reach a wide audience. The objective of the Kiko and the Manymes is twofold. Firstly, this campaign is addressed to adults, with a focus on parents and caregivers of children 4-7 years old, teaching them how to protect their children and avoid their exposure to phones with video and photo cameras or a webcam. Secondly, the experience of Kiko with screens in the book, which also presents “the golden rules of screens”, provide a basic set of rules to empower children to protect their privacy and their image in the online environment.

Through our country specific follow-up projects in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, and new projects in Georgia and Finland on “Protecting Children against violence and sexual exploitation and abuse, including in the digital environment” and “Ensuring child-friendly justice through the effective operation of the Barnahus-units in Finland”, we are conducting a series of actions to raise awareness on the risks of online child sexual exploitation and abuse, and promoting digital literacy and safe use of internet for children in these countries. This includes inter alia raising awareness about Safer Internet Day on social media by disseminating relevant Council of Europe tools and materials and encouraging CSOs to join Safer Internet Day platform, as well as conducting training sessions for professionals working to combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

About us

The Council of Europe is the continent's leading human rights organisation. The Council of Europe protects the human rights of children in the digital environment by mainstreaming children's rights into all aspects of its work, and by ensuring that a range of priority actions are implemented in order to ensure the participation and protection of children in the digital environment as well as by making provision for children's rights in the digital environment in its 46 member states and beyond.
 Like with the previous Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021), children's rights in the digital environment are among key strategic objectives of our current Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027).The Council of Europe aims to empower all children and young people in becoming active digital citizens, so that they can participate safely, effectively, critically and responsibly in the complex world of the digital environment, including social media. 

Additional links/resources


Email address

Social media