As internet usage grows, so does the usage of the internet by children. It is estimated that one in three internet users worldwide is a child, and 800 million children use social media. Any child can become a victim of online violence, such as cyber-bullying, cyber-grooming, trafficking or sexual abuse and exploitation through the internet.
Although businesses may not be directly involved in such criminal acts, they can be complicit in violations that may occur on their digital offerings through their actions. It is important for businesses to put in place safeguards against the unintended use of their digital offerings for the sexual abuse or exploitation of children so that they can create a safe online environment for them.
Some measures that can be taken to protect children from violent and inappropriate material include implementing age verification, age restriction and parental control processes. Businesses should integrate child rights considerations into their internal policies and management processes. This involves developing standard processes to handle child sexual abuse material, such as robust notice and takedown processes, and making users aware of tools to report perpetrators and to block and remove harmful content. This also involves putting in place detection, reporting and identification mechanisms to quantify cases, and removing abuse material or preventing it from being uploaded in the first place. Businesses can incorporate language in their terms and conditions or acceptable use policies to expressly forbid such content and set out the consequences of such abuse. The business should have policies and procedures in place to allow for matters to be referred to the relevant law enforcement authorities.