One third of Internet users are children – they need to be empowered to use the Internet safely and smartly. Photo: UN Viet Nam / Aidan Dockery

One third of Internet users are children – they need to be empowered to use the Internet safely and smartly. Photo: UN Viet Nam / Aidan Dockery

A new version of the Global Resource & Information Directory (GRID) will provide governments, industry, law enforcement, educators and academics with a digital resource to better protect children online including from sexual exploitation, said UNICEF and the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).

The new version of GRID profiles country-specific pages that bring together national level research, education, legislation, and local organizations working to protect young people from online violence and exploitation.

As children’s access to the Internet rapidly expands, protecting young people from online exploitation must be prioritized,” said UNICEF’s associate director child protection Cornelius Williams.

This new version of GRID updates national information on legislation, policies, services and research addressing online child sexual exploitation for a range of professionals. This is a much needed resource to help keep children safe in an increasingly connected world.”

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Information and communication technologies including the Internet and mobile phones have brought benefits to millions of children by revolutionizing their access to information.

But at the same time ICTs can be used as tools to perpetrate crimes against children, including exposing girls and boys to online sexual exploitation and abuse.

In addition to the country specific information, GRID provides opportunities for professionals to share knowledge on new trends, legislation, policies and programmes to keep children safe online.

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The update to GRID was made possible through UNICEF’s Global Programme to tackle online sexual exploitation in 17 countries across 6 regions around the world. The programme is supported by the UK Government through the #WeProtect initiative.

At the #WeProtect Children Online Global Summit hosted last year by the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom in Abu Dhabi, leading information technology companies, governments and international organizations had pledged to protect children from online sexual exploitation.

Originally established by the Family Online Safety Institute in 2010, GRID provides knowledge, insight and analysis into global online safety.

The Family Online Safety Institute is an international, non-profit organization that works to make the online world safer for kids and their families.

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