IGF 2023 WS #199 Breaking the Silence: Empowering Vulnerable Online Users


Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety
Child Online Safety
New Technologies and Risks to Online Security
Online Hate Speech and Rights of Vulnerable People

Organizer 1: Boris Radanovic, 🔒South West Grid for Learning
Organizer 2: David Wright, 🔒
Organizer 3: Evangelia Daskalaki, 🔒
Organizer 4: Sotomayor Lucha, OSRSGVAC
Organizer 5: Sabrina Vorbau, 🔒European Schoolnet - Insafe

Speaker 1: Anna Rywczyńska, Technical Community, Eastern European Group
Speaker 2: Najat Maalla, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Marina Kopidaki, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Mashilo Boloka, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group
Speaker 5: David Wright, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Boris Radanovic, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Evangelia Daskalaki, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Sabrina Vorbau, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Break-out Group Discussions - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A1 How do you define vulnerable groups and how does your line of work assist in working with the underrepresented groups?
B1 Are the self-reporting tools well established in all countries, supporting diverse vulnerable groups, and what are the baseline actions?
C1 What are the legislations and tools, nation states should look to create, and are the young people included in the considerations and evaluations of the proposed systems?
D1 Will the new and emerging technologies, help or assist, vulnerable groups online?

What will participants gain from attending this session? This workshop aims to address key aspects related to empowering vulnerable online users to report harmful content and behavior:
Specifying vulnerable groups: gaining a better understanding of who these vulnerable groups are
Exploring emerging tools and practices: exploring existing tools, and services that can be utilized or serve as inspiration
Knowledge exchange of information and knowledge among participants, providing insights into existing tools and inspiring new solutions.
Amplification of risks for vulnerable children, highlighting the increased risks faced by vulnerable children online and showcases best practices
Encouraging peer reporting: Strategies for promoting peer reporting among children and young people
Raising awareness among vulnerable groups about the importance and process of self-reporting.
Internet stakeholder support, and enabling better access to reporting mechanisms for vulnerable users.
Overall, this workshop provides a comprehensive platform to discuss, share knowledge, and develop strategies that empower vulnerable online users to report harmful content and behavior effectively.


Online platforms have become essential, connecting us socially, providing information, and offering entertainment. However, they also expose vulnerable users, such as children from marginalized groups, to harmful content and behavior. Reporting such incidents can be challenging due to various barriers. This workshop aims to explore the challenges faced by vulnerable online users and identify innovative tools and strategies to empower them to report harmful content and behavior effectively.

According to the EU Kids Online project, 42% of children have encountered harmful online content. Global Kids Online research in February 2021 concluded that offline vulnerability correlates with online vulnerability. Children at risk offline are more exposed to online risks, experience harm more frequently, and struggle to find support. Negative online content, cyber-hate, discrimination, and violent extremism are more prevalent among children with lower levels of happiness or life satisfaction, girls are more likely to be victims of online sexual solicitation, coercive sexting, and cyber-dating violence.
Unfortunately, many incidents go unreported. Reporting harmful online behavior poses unique challenges for marginalized groups, children with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and immigrants, especially refugees. Discrimination and lack of support hinder their reporting efforts. During conflicts like the war in Ukraine, children and youth face language barriers and unfamiliar environments, making it crucial to adopt a carefully considered approach to enable them to report potential abuses.
Emerging tools and strategies offer promising solutions for empowering vulnerable online users to report harmful content. Some platforms have implemented "one-click" reporting features, simplifying the reporting process and others implement AI solutions.
In conclusion, this workshop aims to address the challenges faced by vulnerable online users and explore innovative tools and strategies to empower them to report harmful content and behavior effectively. By fostering a safe and supportive online environment, we can strive towards inclusivity and security for all users.

Expected Outcomes

The workshop on empowering vulnerable online users aims to achieve key outcomes. Firstly,
1. Participants will gain a better understanding of vulnerable groups and their reporting challenges.
2. Secondly, they will benefit from the exchange of knowledge and gain inspiration from existing tools and practices.
3. Understand the developing global standards, policies, and laws for self-reporting services.
Additionally, best practices will be shared to mitigate risks for vulnerable children, and strategies for raising awareness and promoting peer reporting will be explored. Lastly, the workshop will foster collaboration among internet stakeholders to improve accessibility and support for reporting mechanisms. Overall, the expected outcomes include increased understanding, innovative ideas, policy development, risk mitigation, awareness raising, peer reporting, and stakeholder collaboration, leading to a safer and more inclusive online environment for vulnerable users.

Hybrid Format: In all our previous IGF workshops we organized them in a hybrid manner. To facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees, we will employ a combination of technological solutions and session design strategies. We will utilize video conferencing platforms that allow seamless communication and collaboration between both groups. This includes features such as live streaming of onsite presentations and real-time Q&A sessions.
To ensure the best possible experience for online and onsite participants, we will implement a hybrid session design approach. This will involve providing equal opportunities for engagement and participation for both groups. Interactive elements like polls, chat functions, and virtual breakout rooms will be integrated to encourage active involvement from all attendees.
Overall, our approach will focus on creating a cohesive and immersive experience for both onsite and online participants, allowing for meaningful interaction and an optimal session experience for all.