Commemorating Safer Internet Day 2024: Collaboratively Fostering Safer Web for Children – Feb 13, 2024

ChildFund India commemorated Safer Internet Day on 5th Feb 2024 to collaboratively develop a safer web for children. Key stakeholders from Government, Academic institutions, Judicial representatives, Tech companies, Civil society organizations, Parents, children’s representatives jointly focused on understanding depth of the issue and paving the path to safeguard children.

In today’s interconnected world, internet plays a crucial role in shaping the lives of everyone, especially the younger generation. It is the need of the hour to remain connected through mobile devices and Laptops or Computers. internet is playing a pivotal role in children’s lives for gaining knowledge, studies, connecting with friends, online shopping and accessing different information. However, it has also exposed the children to unseen risks and dangers.

In 2020 alone, 21,509 cases of online sexual exploitation and abuse of children were reported under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act 2012. which includes online sexual exploitation and abuse of children. In the days to come, technology will continue to advance, and so do the challenges associated with web safety.

Safer Internet Day is a platform to encourage children to be aware of themselves and be mindful of their online activities, promotes responsible online behaviour, and fosters a culture of respect and kindness on the internet. It emphasizes the importance of navigating the ever-changing online landscape with awareness and adaptability. It provides an opportunity for diverse key stakeholders, including educators, parents, policymakers, and industry leaders, to engage in meaningful discussions, share best practices, and collaborate on initiatives aimed at creating a safer digital space for everyone with special attention to children and young adults.

ChildFund India hosted a National Stakeholders Meet on 5th February at India International Centre, Delhi, bringing children, parents, educators, policymakers, and industry leaders on a platform. As part of their commitment to online safety, ChildFund India highlighted its initiative “WebSafeAndWise”. The program focused on equipping individuals with the knowledge to navigate the digital world responsibly.

ChildFund India aims to contribute to a safer and more inclusive online space for children and youth, emphasizing a commitment to building a secure digital future for all through fostering discussions and collaboration. During the event, ChildFund India launched a webpage on children’s web safety and a video to highlight the challenges and support mechanisms in addressing the issue.

From the panel discussion and speakers sharing it became evident to:

Introduce appropriate legal framework per the legal system and culture of India and with support of the tech companies to advance ahead in ensuring a safer web for children.
Instil children and youth with practices to strengthen emotional capabilities, work with the caregivers and aware them on the online risks and being safer on the web.
A deep dive is required to understand the issue better to explore the reasons behind increase in online exploitation of children, and collaboration of the key stakeholders is needed to work towards the same goal.

Mr. Rajesh Ranjan Singh, Board Member of ChildFund India

“It is an occasion for all the practitioners to come forward together to ensure that our children are safe online too. It’s time for all of us to support the government initiatives and extend our expertise in strengthening the systems and ensuring that every child gets a safer web to learn and thrive.”

Smt. A. Srija, IES, Economic Advisor, Dept. of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, Govt. of India

“The government is promoting the use of digital technology in classrooms; National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 recognizes the importance of technology in education like STEM labs, digital classrooms, digital modules, coding, etc. With the swift spread of technology, today, about 90% of the rural youth know how to use a smartphone and they are exposed to online exploitation, teasing, and bullying. I thank ChildFund India for making a beginning on this live topic which needs more attention from all of us in the coming days.”

About ChildFund India

ChildFund India, a child development organization registered in India in 1984, has been working with children, youth, and families from the most remote, extremely backward, and hard-to-reach areas, with a vision to build “an India where children lead a dignified life and achieve their full potential”. ChildFund India works in the rural belts of the country, now slowly expanding its focus to urban locations too, where child protection issues and violence against children are prevalent. Its programs provide comprehensive support to children from their conception until they reach 24 years of age by integrating health, nutrition, sanitation, gender equality, disability, education, skill training, livelihoods, child protection, and humanitarian relief work. ChildFund India annually reaches lakhs of children, youth, and their families across the country, through its programs.

List of speakers and panelists:

  1. Smt. A. Srija, IES, Economic Advisor, D/O SE & L, Ministry of Education, Govt. of India
  2. Ms. Hanneke Oudkerk, Regional Director, ChildFund International
  3. Ms. Stuti Kacker, Retd. IAS, Board Member, ChildFund India
  4. Dr. Shuchita Chaturvedi, Member of SCPCR, UP
  5. Mr. Chandrasekhar Pandey, Program Director, ChildFund India
  6. Prof. Sanjai Bhatt, Department of Social Work, Delhi University
  7. Dr. Vikram Srivastava, Regional Technical Advisor, SAIEVAC Regional Secretariat
  8. Ms. Sharmila Ray, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF India
  9. Mr. Suresh K Krishna, Board Member, ChildFund India
  10. Ms. Ira Gupta Tuteja, Advisor, KPMG India
  11. Mr. Kapil Bhardwaj, Advisory Board Member of SANS Institute, USA
  12. Ms. Sneha Singh, Advocate, High Court, Delhi

Be a Part of the Movement.