CHILD DIGNITY IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
Children and adolescents make up over a quarter of the more than 3.2 billion Internet users worldwide. This generation of over 800 million young users is in danger of becoming victims of sextortion, sexting, cyberbullying and harassment.
This global problem calls for a global solution. We need an open and thorough discussion to build awareness, and to mobilize action for a better protection of minors online.
‘Child Dignity in the Digital World’ is the first world congress of its kind that brings together key stakeholders and international leaders from all relevant areas.
This pioneering congress hosted by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome sets a milestone in the international fight against digital sexual child abuse.
The invitation-only congress brings together distinguished academic experts, business leaders, leaders of civil society, high-level politicians and religious representatives from across the globe. This provides a historic opportunity to set the global agenda for the fight against online sexual child abuse and for child protection in the digital world.
Every child’s life is unique, meaningful and precious, and every child has a right to dignity and safety. Yet today, global society is failing its children. Millions of children are being abused and exploited in tragic and unspeakable ways, and on an unprecedented scale all over the world.
Read the full declaration here.
On 6 October 2017 the attendees of the World Congress: Child Dignity in the Digital World presented the Declaration of Rome to Pope Francis. The Declaration concludes, “In this era of the internet the world faces unprecedented challenges if it is to preserve the rights and dignity of children and protect them from abuse and exploitation. These challenges require new thinking and approaches, heightened global awareness and inspired leadership.”
Pope Francis accepted the Declaration and said, “in the Declaration you presented me, you have pointed out a variety of different ways to promote concrete cooperation among all concerned parties working to combat the great challenge of defending the dignity of minors in the digital world. I firmly and enthusiastically support the commitments that you have undertaken.”
The challenge now is to implement those commitments. The task is enormous. We must maintain momentum, provide data to inform and shape policy, and generate the resources necessary for this comprehensive effort. The Centre for Child Protection (CCP) of the Pontifical Gregorian University in partnership with the WePROTECT Global Alliance and SOS Il Telefono Azzurro Onlus will use the Declaration of Rome as a platform on which to build a coalition of the willing. That coalition will turn the general goals of the Declaration into global action.
During the World Congress attendees participated in ten parallel workshops in a search for new and innovative approaches and solutions. This Strategic Plan presents those solutions.
Read the full strategy here.
"Technology has changed the way we live, learn, work and play. Yet, there is a dark side. Technology also facilitates the exploitation of children. We must innovate. We must catch-up. There are limits to what governments and law enforcement can do alone, but there is no limit to what governments, law enforcement and committed private sector leaders can do together."
Ernie Allen, WePROTECT Chairman and Child Dignity Alliance Member
"We need to realize that the internet is a very precious instrument for communication, for connecting people; but the internet has brought also many, many risks, and one of the major risks is the abuse of minors on the internet by the dissemination of sexual images and videos, and the use and abuse of this instrument in social media also by young people themselves."
Father Hans Zollner, President of the Centre for Child Protection and Child Dignity Alliance Member
"The world only too frequently fails to preserve the rights of children and to protect all children from abuse and sexual exploitation. The fight against child sexual abuse requires new thinking, new approaches, and a new global awareness of the importance of listening to children and their needs."
Ernesto Caffo, President and Founder of Telefono Azzurro and Child Dignity Alliance Member
The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, formerly the ‘Roman College’ founded in 1551 by Ignatius of Loyola, today has 2,700 students from more than 120 countries.
The university is one of the most important centres for the training of Church leadership and ministry. Faculties include theology, canon law, philosophy, history and cultural heritage of the church, as well as missiology, and social sciences, and institutes of psychology and spirituality.
Founded in 2012, the Centre for Child Protection (CCP) at the Institute of Psychology of the Pontifical Gregorian University is a key institution in the global fight against sexual abuse. The CCP is dedicated to the safeguarding and well-being of children and vulnerable persons throughout the world. It provides information on the problem of sexual and other kinds of abuse and promotes preventive measures. The Centre’s fields of activities include education training, interdisciplinary research, doctoral programs as well as participation and organization of international conferences.
The CCP is continuously expanding its network of international partners. Today, more than XX partner organisations worldwide collaborate with the CCP to develop preventive structures.
The WePROTECT Global Alliance is a movement that brings together the influence, expertise and resources required to transform how online child sexual exploitation is dealt with worldwide. This initiative is led by an executive Board drawn from key countries, international organisations, civil society, and technology companies. Guided by the WePROTECT Global Alliance Model National Response, we support countries in evaluating and enhancing their response to the online sexual exploitation of children.
Telefono Azzurro is a non-profit organization, born in Bologna in 1987 and founded by Professor Ernesto Caffo, with the main purpose of protecting and taking care of minors from abuse and violence. It has been for nearly 30 years a landmark for children and adolescents in difficulty. Every day, 24hours per day, Telefono Azzurro is present where there is the need of listening, prevention, awareness and intervention, through telephone lines, on the Internet, through Institutions, and more directly on the field, in schools or prisons.