IGF 2023 WS #79 Co-creating online safety with children and young people


Organizer 1: Connolly Sarah, 🔒
Organizer 2: Tim Dwyer, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Organizer 3: Sarah Marigold, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (UK Government)

Speaker 1: Connolly Sarah, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Adam Bargroff, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Varaidzo Kativhu, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 4: Guilherme Alves, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Justin Fugle, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 6: Will Gardner, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Sarah Marigold, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Stephanie Ivuerah, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Tim Dwyer, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

How can we empower children and young people to play a positive, proactive role in the promotion and improvement of online safety? How can we ensure the experiences of vulnerable groups, including girls and LGBT+ children, are reflected?
What more can technology companies do to encourage youth participation in the development and design of their products and services?
What role can regulation play in promoting and protecting children’s rights, and empowering children and young people online, including addressing structural inequalities?

What will participants gain from attending this session? This session aims to contribute to domestic and international multi stakeholder efforts to build a safe online environment for children and young people, focusing on youth participation and empowerment, including the interests and perspectives of vulnerable groups.

The session will showcase multistakeholder, multifaceted approaches to online safety which place the agency, experiences and rights of children at the heart of their design, development and implementation. It will help to raise awareness of, and build the evidence base for, positive changes and effective interventions on an international scale.


Many children have a positive experience online, using the internet for connecting with peers, as well as to access educational resources, information and entertainment. However, the impact of harmful content and activity online can be particularly damaging for children and young people and there are growing concerns about the potential impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

The protection of children and young people is often at the heart of governmental and multi stakeholder approaches to addressing online harms - 83% of UK adults think social media companies should have a duty to protect children who are using their platforms (https://www.ipsos.com/en-uk/over-70-uk-adults-think-social-media-platfo…).

This session will look at what works to promote a safe online environment for children and young people, including examples of existing good practice from governments and the wider multistakeholder community from different geographies in relation to media literacy, safety-by-design and regulatory interventions - promoting and protecting human rights.

The session will reflect on the critical insights and experiences of children and young people and consider the role they can play in promoting and co-creating their own online safety. It will consider how multi stakeholder policy measures can respect and uphold children’s rights, and how children and young people can be empowered to play a positive, proactive role in the promotion and improvement of online safety.

Expected Outcomes

To provide a space for a discussion to crowdsource existing efforts and test effective policy solutions - helping to support greater multilateral coordination and sharing of best practice. Conclusions and perspectives can be drawn upon as part of preparations towards the UN Secretary General’s Global Digital Compact. To create an online board with speaker references on the topics discussed that can be shared during the panel or afterwards, and to develop a user-friendly report summarising the key points.

We would look to take forward work with youth representatives bringing together multistakeholder, multidisciplinary perspectives - focusing on best practice.

We would seek to highlight the need for tech companies to uphold children’s safety and privacy in the development and design of their services and to pilot and undertake further research on co-creation and youth participation initiatives.

Hybrid Format: We will ensure an even split of online and onsite participation - ensuring there are both online and onsite moderators to promote and enable effective and interactive participation of all participants and attendees. The event will begin with an introduction and welcome from the moderator, followed by 5 minutes of speaking time for each participant, which will take up the first half of the event. The second half of the session will be for an open discussion with attendees. During this period, the onsite moderator will chair the conversation, bringing in contributions from both online and onsite participants, ensuring equal opportunity of speech.

We will set up a Slido to facilitate the participation of both in person and virtual attendees and carry out live polling on key policy questions - ensuring participants can provide live comments and questions and to capture valuable feedback on the event.