IGF 2023 WS #229 Balancing Child Online Protection and Internet Integrity


Organizer 1: Wataru Ohgai, 🔒Keio University / WIDE Project
Organizer 2: Kateryna Bovsunovska, Internet Society Youth Standing Group
Organizer 3: Athanase Bahizire, ITU Generation Connect
Organizer 4: Saba Tiku Beyene, 🔒
Organizer 5: Man Hei Connie Siu, 🔒International Telecommunication Union

Speaker 1: Aysha Labiba Labiba, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Hon. Neema Lugangira, Government, African Group
Speaker 3: Fanny Rotino, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 4: Saba Tiku Beyene, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group


Athanase Bahizire, Technical Community, African Group

Online Moderator

Kateryna Bovsunovska, Technical Community, Eastern European Group


Wataru Ohgai, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group


Panel - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How may child protection measures lead to fragmentation of end-user experience worldwide?
B. How should these policies be designed to avoid splitting the Internet?
C. Can child protection measures strengthen the Internet, making it safer and empowering children?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the policy measures that can be implemented to protect children online while maintaining an open and resilient Internet. They will learn about the different approaches that can be taken to balance the need for online safety, including regulatory frameworks, privacy laws, and content moderation policies. The participants can learn about the latest technical and innovative solutions that can enhance child online protection. They will gain insights into the educational measures that can be taken to raise awareness among children and parents about risks and best practices for online safety. They will learn more about the role of digital and media literacy in promoting online safety and the importance of parental supervision and guidance. Finally, preserving the globally connected Internet will be stressed as a criterion to be included in the policy-making process for child online protection around the world.


Globally, one-third of Internet users are children. While the Internet offers various opportunities for learning, communication, participation, and creativity, it also exposes children to potential risks and negative experiences that can harm their mental and physical well-being. Hence, countries worldwide are implementing measures to safeguard children online.
At the same time, there is limited evidence proving that restrictions and limitations imposed on minors are efficient. The implementation of such measures without adequate consultation with the technical community and civil society is giving rise to new questions concerning internet policy, including privacy protection, encryption, age verification, access to information, and freedom of speech.
This session will focus on the risks posed by child online protection policies to the Internet itself, leading to the fragmentation of the end-user experience, infringement of privacy, and disclosure of personal data. It will emphasize policy measures that can be implemented to protect children online while maintaining an open, safe and resilient Internet. The panel discussion will highlight the innovative technical solutions and educational and policy measures allowing children to empower themselves online without affecting their experience as end-users. Finally, international cooperation will be highlighted in contrast to the ‘siloed’ measures taken by states on their own.

Expected Outcomes

Finding policy recommendations to regulators aiming to protect minors against potentially harmful effects from the Internet without creating obstacles to adequate functioning and access to a global network, especially considering youth perspectives and concerns.

Hybrid Format: All participants, both online and onsite, will be an important part of the audience. Therefore, online and onsite moderators will cooperate to ensure that both online and onsite participants will have an equal opportunity to join the discussion with speakers and to ask them questions or share their impressions. Moderators will especially ensure that there is a common queue of questions for online and onsite participants so that each group has the same priority to ask questions to the speakers, whether they are online or onsite. Questions will be gathered using the Zoom chat and the raising hand option.