IGF 2023 WS #403 Safe Digital Futures for Children: Aligning Global Agendas

Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (08:00 UTC) - Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (09:30 UTC)
WS 1 – Annex Hall 1

Organizer 1: Natalie Shoup, End Violence Partnership
Organizer 2: Manojlovic Marija, Safe Online Initiative at End Violence Partnership

Speaker 1: Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Ag. Director General of the Cyber Security Authority, Government of Ghana
Speaker 2: Ananya Singh, USAID Digital Youth Council
Speaker 3: Andrea Powell, Director of Reclaim Coalition, Panorama Global  
Speaker 4: Cailin Crockett, Senior Advisor, Gender Policy Council, US White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse 
Speaker 5: Ambassador Henri Verdier, French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs Children's Online Protection Lab 
Speaker 6: Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner Australia
Speaker 7: Mattito Watson, Senior Technical Advisor of Children in Adversity Team, USAID  
Speaker 8: Salomé Eggler, Director of Digital Transformation Centre, German Agency for International Cooperation Kenya  


Marija Manojlovic, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Online Moderator

Natalie Shoup, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization


Natalie Shoup, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)
  • What are the best practices for building ‘child-centred safety by design’ into frameworks, tools and solutions addressing digital harms?

  • How can safer platforms be promoted while invigorating the digital innovation ecosystem? How do digital security and trust intersect in the online child safety ecosystem?
  • How do we promote keeping children safe in digital environments as a crucial policymaking focus without undermining encryption and cybersecurity?
  • How can online child safety be better positioned as crucial to inclusive, gender-balanced digitisation?
  • What governance structures can be built to maximise synergies and promote coordination between child online safety and other global digital agendas?

What will participants gain from attending this session?

Participants will engage around three aims:

  1. Scope strategic overlaps between child safety and other global digital agendas
  2. Identify best practices for exchange between fields addressing digital harms and crimes
  3. Foster awareness in bringing the rights of some of the most vulnerable – children and young people – into digital transformation agendas.

Key experts will be discussing systems change along with more technical and contextual questions to speak to current opportunities for more accurate identification of problems and needs, effective approaches and measurement of progress, and greater investments and advocacy for generating increased political will. Participants will take a deeper dive into examples of available frameworks, standards and tools across fields – such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child General Comment 25, the Lanzarote and Budapest Conventions, Christchurch Call, among others - to strengthen child-centred prevention and response systems to online harms and crimes.

The scale of online child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) is unprecedented, there are millions of images and videos with children being sexually abused circulating on the web. Online CSEA is closely interlinked with other digital harms and crimes such as cyberbullying, stalking, cyber-harassment, gender-based violence and trafficking. In efforts to increase connectivity and invigorate the digital innovation ecosystem, there is an opportunity to promote cohesive approaches on digital platforms to make them safer for all users and especially for the most vulnerable – children and young people.

There is also a critical need to bridge and explore alignments and divergences between child safety and other global agendas such as cybersecurity, cybercrimes, data protection and privacy, digital innovation, gender-based violence, digital education, image-based sexual abuse, terrorism and others. Incorporating traditionally divided narratives between child online safety with broader digital expansion, human rights and privacy focused perspectives is also critical to ensure both data and child protection on digital platforms. In addressing these intersections –digital harms and crimes to children with other global digital agendas – it is critical to look especially at how efforts around data, terminology, standards, and evaluation can be better aligned as well as where synergies exist for building systems and infrastructure for robust analysis, prevention and response to online risks and harms for children.

This session will bring unique knowledge, insights and expert voices from the Safe Online global portfolio ($76 million invested since 2017) of over 95 projects with impact across 80 countries focusing on digital harms to children and our extensive multi-stakeholder collaboration work in this field. The conversation will be framed and facilitated to allow for challenging and sometimes uncomfortable conversations that are critical to promote greater exchange and alignment between different perspectives and agendas to secure a safe internet for children.

Expected Outcomes

Participants will gain a greater understanding of digital crimes, ask questions, and access insights and best practices for addressing online harms including governance, ethics and technical infrastructure. Key points discussed and opportunities identified will be shared with participants to facilitate further engagement. This session will kick off further dialogue between multiple communities of practice. The session will inform and encourage continued opportunities for multi-sectoral exchange around making the internet safer for children. Discussions from the session will inform continuing advocacy for enacting and responding to online child safety legislation and strengthening collaboration efforts across global digital agendas. There are key upcoming global moments and convenings that will allow for important moments and connections by this community.

Hybrid Format: Bringing together advocates and expert practitioners across fields - digital transformation, cybersecurity, image-based sexual abuse, gender-based violence, digital human rights, etc. - around questions related to online harms a unique opportunity for great impact in understanding stop points for stakeholders, shared or divergent language, and increased value alignment for keeping children safe online. Effective engagement requires a closely facilitated space that allows for sensitive and nuanced conversations and building of closer personal relationships to find language and convergence points for bringing this conversation to wider audiences.

Expert high-level speakers will provide framing inputs for different aspects of the conversation followed by more open discussion. A roundtable format allows for more accessible interaction through voice or chat functions for virtual participants. Our team dedicates an in-person representative to supporting online participants for their participation.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Data, evidence and knowledge-sharing are key to overcoming ideological, political, sectoral and structural silos in global digital agendas (cybersecurity, child online safety, tech-facilitated gender based violence, digitization, connectivity etc.), particularly when in comes to placing children's safety at the heart of those.

Applying a vulnerability lens across all areas of work related to digital development and internet governance is essential for ensuring an inclusive, safe and secure online world, particularly for children who make up 1/3 of the global internet users.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

We are calling for more investment in child online safety across the entire ecosystem, with particular focus on capacities of low and middle income countries, as well as more upstream and collaborative action to ensure that safety by design for all is a key consideration of digital development.

In order to make progress across all agendas, we must have intentional and rigorous focus on participation of people with lived experience and children to ensure that we are not further exacerbating and augmenting existing vulnerabilities, harmful gender norms or expressions of violent behaviors and power dynamics though the online world.