Council of Europe

Last updated: 2024-02-06

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 disseminate as widely as possible some of our latest materials and tools. In addition, a national conference will be held in Rabat, Morocco to discuss challenges linked to artificial intelligence and emerging threats. 
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 19 languages and presents the key rights that children have in the digital environment and can claim from governments, schools, businesses and other stakeholders, and points to possible actions 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.
Our 2020 Handbook for the policymakers on the rights of the child in the digital environment aims to support policymakers in our member states formulating national frameworks and policies, as well as provide interpretative and practical step-by-step guidance to ensure the respect of children’s rights online.
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.
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. The objective of these awareness-raising materials available in 20 languages, including Japanese, is twofold. Firstly, this campaign teaches parents and caregivers how to protect their children aged 4-7 and avoid their exposure to phones with video and photo cameras or a webcam. Secondly, it provides children with a basic set of “golden rules” to empower them to protect their privacy and their image in the online environment.

What we are doing to create 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 three opinions on Article 23 of the Lanzarote Convention - Solicitation of children for sexual purposes through information and communication technologies (ICTs), on the applicability of the Lanzarote Convention to sexual offences against children facilitated by ICTs and  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 adopted in March 2022 contains specific recommendations and promising practices. In this framework, States Parties to the Lanzarote Convention commit to criminalise all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse against children, online and offline, including knowingly accessing child sexual abuse material online. To raise awareness on the key findings of the Implementation Report, comprehensive thematic and country factsheets were prepared and published in 2023 to help State Parties and civil society to identify and address gaps and challenges in their frameworks. 

The 2024 edition of the annual-awareness raising Day (18 November) on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse will focus on Protecting children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in the context of emerging technologies (including AI and XR).

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. As the EU proposed Regulation to find a lasting solution once the temporary derogation expires is still being negotiated, this report remains very relevant.

The 2023 Octopus Cybercrime Conference held a dedicated workshop on the automatic detection of child sexual exploitation and abuse materials to explore current challenges and trends regarding the proliferation of child sexual exploitation and abuse material (CSAM). The workshop was moderated by the Lanzarote Committee Chairperson. In addition, resources to protect individuals, including children, from cyber violence, were presented at the Conference.

In 2023, the Council of Europe joined the WeProtect Global Alliance, a coalition of over 250 organisations committed to ending child sexual exploitation and abuse online. As a member, we will work closely with governments worldwide, civil society, and private sector stakeholders to address the growing threat of child sexual abuse online.

The Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) is working on a Report on the rights of the child and artificial intelligence (to be finalised by the end of 2024). Subsequently, it is expected to develop a child rights impact assessment tool on artificial intelligence. 

Through our country specific project ”Preventing and protecting children from violence, including in the digital environment in the Republic of Moldova” (Phase III), and a new regional project “End Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse@Europe Plus (EndOCSEA@Europe+) focusing on Georgia, Montenegro and the Republic of Moldova, 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