New UN guidelines to protect children from online predators

The updated advice is designed to equip nations to better protect children in digital age

Children who have experienced social distancing measures were found to be five times more likely to require mental health services. Getty Images
Children who have experienced social distancing measures were found to be five times more likely to require mental health services. Getty Images

The United Nations has issued new guidance designed to to better protect children from online predators.

The committee that monitors the Convention on the Rights of the Child, said its advice aimed at defending young people from prostitution and pornography needed to be updated in light of new threats of abuse and exploitation in the digital age.

Previous versions, adopted in 1989 and 2000, did not take account of the modern reality of social media and other more recent communication methods such as video streaming.

The UAE is among 176 countries which signed up to the optional UN protocol. The updated guidance urges signatories to ensure legislation is fit for purpose in light of new online threats.

It also calls for all children to receive comprehensive sex education and for governments to collect data about young people’s internet use and how they are exploited.

It states that governments should take steps to tackle unintended consequences of young people sending explicit messages to one another that can be shared more widely.

The guidelines also address the role played by the private sector and states’ obligation to ensure companies take action to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.

“The guidelines cover prevention, prohibition of the sale of children and their sexual exploitation for prostitution and in pornography, measures to prevent impunity of perpetrators and measures to support and rehabilitate child victims,” said Luis Pedernera, the committee chairman.

“We believe they can be of considerable help to states in their efforts to combat these atrocious crimes which continue to blight the lives of so many children across the world.

"This is no longer a case of an occasional hidden offender living at the bottom of the street.

“It is now a case of a multitude of offenders on the other side of the world who can reach directly inside our homes in order to corrupt and destroy our children’s lives. This is a battle we simply cannot afford to lose.”

Updated: September 26, 2019 08:57 PM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one