Digital economy

Protecting children online


As more and more children use the Internet every day, the benefits they enjoy and the risks they face grow exponentially. What are the risks children face online? What policies are in place to protect them? How could these policies be improved?

At the 2008 Seoul Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy, Ministers recognised the importance of ensuring a trusted Internet-based environment that offers protection to individuals, especially minors and other vulnerable groups. Following up on the Seoul Declaration, the OECD organised a joint symposium with APEC in 2009 to explore the issue in more detail. Since then, research has been undertaken by the OECD Working Party on Information Security and Privacy to analyse what policies are in place to protect children online, their commonalities and differences, and how to improve the evidence base for further policy making.


OECD Recommendation on the Protection of Children Online

As the Internet permeates every aspect of our economy and society, it is also becoming a daily reality in our children’s lives. While it brings considerable benefits to their education and development, it also exposes them to online risks such as access to inappropriate content, abusive interaction with others, exposure to aggressive marketing practices and privacy risks.

To protect children online, the OECD developed a report on the Protection of children online: risk faced by children online and policies to protect them. Based on this report’s findings, the OECD Council adopted in 2012 a Recommendation calling for evidence-based policy making and enhanced domestic and international co-ordination to improve national policy frameworks. A booklet brings together the Recommendation and the report.

OECD work in this area focuses on the protection of children as users of the Internet. It does not address child pornography in general or the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet. It nevertheless includes input from the Council of Europe and refers to the Council of Europe's work related to child exploitation (Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, CETS 201) and child pornography (Convention on Cybercrime, ETS 185).

Cover page of the Booklet on the Protection of Children Online


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