Covid-19 pandemic: Children at increased risk online due to coronavirus
Millions of children are at increased risk as their lives go increasingly on the Internet due to the confinement imposed as part of the Covid-19 pandemic, UNICEF said on its website.
Taylor, Executive Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children says that this pandemic has resulted in an “unprecedented rise in screen time and raising safety risks”.
“The closure of schools and strict containment measures have led families to turn increasingly to digital technologies and solutions so that their children can continue to learn, have fun and stay in touch with the outside world,” said Howard Taylor.
“However, children do not have all the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to protect themselves when they are online,” he said.
Over 1.5 billion young people are affected by the closure of their school. Many must now continue to learn via virtual platforms and maintain their social relationships online. According to UNICEF, this can “make children more vulnerable to child trapping and sexual exploitation on the Internet, predators seeking to take advantage of the situation”.
“Faced with the threat posed by Covid-19, the lives of millions of children are temporarily limited to their homes and their screens. We must help them to grasp this new reality,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
To do this, it recommends that States strengthen essential child protection services to ensure that they remain open and active throughout the duration of the pandemic. UNICEF is also focusing on stepping up awareness campaigns on the safety of children online.
According to the organization, the role of schools is to “promote good behavior online, ensure its application and ensure that children have access to psychological support services in schools at all times”.
As for parents, they must ensure that the devices are equipped with antivirus programs but also have frank discussions with their children about their uses and frequentation online while setting rules of use.