IGF 2023 WS #318 Defend Digital Playgrounds: Safeguarding Children Online


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

Organizer 1: Man Hei Connie Siu, 🔒International Telecommunication Union
Organizer 2: Athanase Bahizire, ITU Generation Connect
Organizer 3: Saba Tiku Beyene, 🔒
Organizer 4: Kateryna Bovsunovska, Internet Society Youth Standing Group
Organizer 5: Wai Hei Siu, HKUST

Speaker 1: Johnston Samantha-Kaye, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Eric Hawkinson, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Seble Girma Workneh, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 4: Jasmine Tang, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 5: KEIKO TANAKA, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Man Hei Connie Siu, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Saba Tiku Beyene, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group


Kateryna Bovsunovska, Technical Community, Eastern European Group


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How can regulatory frameworks and mechanisms be designed to address cross-border jurisdictional challenges and ensure children safety and privacy in online learning environments?

B. What measures can be taken to promote digital literacy to recognize and respond to cyber threats and data privacy in online learning environments, and what role do stakeholders play in safeguarding children's online learning?

C. How can AI technologies be deployed in online learning environments to promote inclusivity, personalization, and data protection while minimizing biases and inequalities for marginalized groups, and what innovative solutions can be explored to address challenges and opportunities of online learning?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants new to Internet Governance will gain a comprehensive understanding of concepts, challenges, and risks associated with child safety and cybersecurity in digital learning environments, alongside specific threats of Zoombombing, AI, and other emerging concerns. Those with cybersecurity, policy, child safety and education backgrounds/interests can identify practical strategies and best practices, along with gaining insights into policy frameworks, regulatory approaches, and international cooperation necessary to address the challenges effectively. With the discussions, participants will be stimulated to learn and propose novel suggestions that enforce cybersecurity measures, privacy protection, and responsible AI use that are up-to-date with emerging trends. By sharing perspectives and experiences, participants could also contribute to shaping policy recommendations, guidelines and frameworks for safeguarding children in the digital age, as well as engage in knowledge-sharing and potential collaborations with both onsite and online participants from diverse backgrounds, all for a safer and secure children’s online learning environment.


Digital age improved kids' education with greater learning possibilities, yet brings new risks to their safety, especially with online learning. Zoombombing disrupts virtual classrooms, posing safety risks for kids in online learning; insufficient security measures lead to common cyber threats and data leaks; digital illiteracy in children, parents, and teachers puts them at risk and affects education and student well-being; legal and jurisdictional issues further complicate responsibility and cross-border cooperation. How to prevent cyber threats on children's online learning and respond quickly, with stakeholder roles in safeguarding their experiences?

With rapid developments in online learning environments, AI technologies are also integrated and more commonly used, but data privacy and protection concerns have arisen. Robust measures to safeguard sensitive information are lacking, along with potential biases and inappropriate content perpetuating inequalities, unfairness, and educational disparities for marginalized groups. Understanding the AI used in online learning is crucial, yet this is difficult with a lack of transparency and explainability. Moreover, insufficient accountability mechanisms exist for AI use in online learning, posing risks to child safety, privacy, and educational equity. To ensure ethical AI use, what steps can be taken to promote inclusivity, personalization, and data protection? And, how can effective moderation and transparent communication with children, parents, and educators be established regarding the risks and benefits of AI in online learning environments?

This workshop aims to initiate discussions surrounding this emerging critical issue by exploring the threats and countermeasures to ensure child safety in the digital age of learning; and by bringing together key stakeholders including policymakers, educators, and cybersecurity experts, the workshop will serve as a platform for educational dialogue and a gateway to potential frameworks, guidelines and policies towards building a safer and more secure digital environment for children’s education, all from the perspective of Internet governance with multistakeholder collaboration.

Expected Outcomes

This workshop is expected to generate awareness about the significance and risks of child safety and cybersecurity in digital learning environments, explore solutions, identify trends and challenges, alongside providing specific recommendations on ethical, legal, technical and educational perspectives to key stakeholders. The workshop will also offer policy recommendations and insights that address challenges posed to children’s online learning environments by zoombombing, AI threats and other emerging issues, as well as encourage public-private partnerships and collaboration among key stakeholders to have interdisciplinary approaches that effectively address the multifaceted issues of child safety, cybersecurity, and online learning environments.
A survey will follow the workshop and contribute to our final report along with participants' QnA and feedback. A report on the workshop results will be published on the IGF website for participants and interested parties. The report will be shared with Internet Governance and youth communities to raise awareness and share findings.

Hybrid Format: In the Q&A session, both remote and onsite participation is welcomed and highly encouraged in this workshop. With remote participants, the onsite and online moderators will work together to ensure the smooth flow of online participation, such that the online community will have opportunities to engage in discussions and raise questions with an alternating pattern between onsite and remote participation. Online participants could input their questions into the QnA function of the video conferencing platform, and the online moderator would moderate the flow, providing online participants with the opportunity to have their questions answered by our speakers. Online collaboration tools, such as Mural, will be used for interactive exercises and brainstorming sessions; online polling tools will gather instant feedback from both onsite and online participants; and designated hashtags will promote online discussions and insight sharing on social media platforms, promoting engagement and extending the workshop's reach beyond the event.