The COP Guidelines for parents and educators offer parents, carers, guardians and educators support for a better understanding of online risks and harms for children, proposing concrete guidance and tools on how to support children and young people so that they can fully benefit from the opportunities, that the digital environment offers.
The Guidelines for parents and educators on Child Online Protection aim to sensitize families to the potential risks and threats and help cultivate a healthy and empowering online environment at home, and in the classroom.
Highlighting key recommendations the guidelines emphasize the importance of open communication and ongoing dialogue with children, creating a safe space where young Internet users feel empowered to raise concerns.
Defining key risks and harms for children online, including privacy issues, cyberbullying, grooming and sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA), the guidelines further dedicate additional attention to the impact of new and emerging technologies on children.
In addition, while addressing the importance of the situation faced by children with disabilities, for whom the online world offers a particularly crucial lifeline to full – and fulfilling – social participation; the consideration of the special needs of migrant children and other vulnerable groups has also been included.
There are a range of aspects for parents and educators to consider when supporting their children or pupils as they go online. The guidelines highlight that alongside the many benefits there are also challenges and parents and educators will want to identify effective ways to protect children from harmful and inappropriate content online.
Parents will often be supported by Internet services providers and mobile operators who will provide parental control tools, ways to block and restrict access to certain types of content as well as the ability to limit the amount of time spent on devices. Education settings may include online safety within their curriculum and may be more likely to filter and monitor access. However, this is only part of the solution, dialogue and discussion are crucial and a key element is establishing a positive relationship between adults and children and young people.
These guidelines highlight a series of further recommendations for parents and educators to consider when having conversations with their children or pupils about what they do when they go online and how to support them when things go wrong.
Hear Karl Hopwood
Helpline coordinator and in-house e-safety consultant, EUN Partnership AISBL, giving you an overview of the new 2020 COP Guidelines for parents, carers and educators. ITU released the re-thought and re-written Guidelines on Child Online Protection in June 2020