Events & Campaigns
Enhancing Online Platforms Safety Tools for a Child-centred Digital Future
In today’s interconnected world, the distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) is a hard reality. The United Nations Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse provides an opportunity to reflect on and address the connection between this global issue and the digital landscape.
Millions of explicit and illegal images and videos involving minors circulate on the internet, often on platforms we use daily. These platforms, designed for communication, information sharing and user-generated content, have, in some cases, become hotspots for the distribution of harmful material and for risky interactions between minors and adults.
A multi-faceted approach to preventing CSAM
Addressing this challenge is a shared responsibility, involving organisations, law enforcement, governments, and platforms. In this complex and challenging digital landscape, online platforms can be instrumental not only in preventing the spread of CSAM but also in supporting young victims of abuse. By embracing innovative technology and fostering continuous collaboration, online platforms can create a safer online environment for young users. Some potential measures to enhance safety are:
- Advanced content scanning: Online platforms can employ advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to swiftly scan and identify CSAM content. These technology-based tools provide a strong defence against the circulation of illegal images and videos.
- Reporting mechanisms: Encouraging users to report suspicious content is crucial. It’s equally essential to provide a clear, user-friendly process while empowers them to be part of the solution.
- User-friendly safety features: Accounts-reporting and blocking tools should be readily available to both children and their parents. Accounts reported for suspicious behaviour should undergo a review process. Moreover, platforms can offer the flexibility for users to establish customised safety settings, such as content filters, reporting options, and privacy controls.
- Priority for repeated reporters: Users who have reported suspected abuse should receive priority access to support services, emphasising their safety and well-being. Recognising the importance of this, an article published by Thorn, underscores the need for more comprehensive safety tools.
- Prominent display: Help-line resources should be easily accessible and prominently displayed on all online platforms to ensure that users, especially children, know how to seek help if they experience online abuse.
- Multiple Communication Channels: Providing a range of communication channels for helpline resources, such as text, chat, and phone, caters to diverse user preferences and needs.
Features to support healing and reintegration
When online abuse occurs, the support and resources available on social platforms can make a significant difference:
- Online counselling: Platforms can offer online counselling services tailored to child victims of online abuse. These services should be accessible through user-friendly interfaces, including chat-based options for enhanced anonymity.
- Mental health resources: Recognising the emotional and psychological needs of children affected by online abuse, online platforms can provide resources for support. Algorithms can be employed to identify users at risk of mental health issues, tailored to the content they consume.
- Resource Centres: Platforms might consider creating in-app resource centres to provide information on local support groups, therapy options and educational resources, facilitating the reintegration process.
Optimism for the future
While the challenges of online child abuse and exploitation are concerning, the future holds promising solutions. Every conversation, collaboration and report contributes to children's safety and well-being. By working together, we can harness technology for the greater good, ensuring a safer digital environment for all children.
Learn more on how to prevent abuse here.
Online platforms can be instrumental not only in preventing the spread of CSAM but also in supporting young victims of abuse.'