Around 72 percent of children worldwide have experienced at least one type of cyber threat online, according to a new cybersecurity report.
Saudi Arabia-based Global Cybersecurity Forum (GCF) and global consultancy Boston Consulting Group released the Why Children are Unsafe in the Cyberspace report this week to raise awareness about child protection, one of the strongest vulnerable groups that actively use the Internet.
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According to the report, more than 90 percent of children aged eight and over are actively using the Internet.
Unwanted ads, bullying, harassment, and inappropriate content were among the top threats children faced.
More than 40,000 parents and children were surveyed in 24 countries and six regions. The report’s findings indicate that child protection in cyberspace is inadequate and underscore the need for immediate collective action worldwide.
Although children are most active online at home or at school, the report suggests that only half of the children surveyed feel safe online, with one in five children reporting some form of bullying or harassment.
“With 72 percent of children exposed to cyber threats, we believe protecting children is vital in a rapidly evolving cyberspace,” Alaa al-Faadhel, head of GCF Initiatives and Partnerships, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The solution to the pervasive threats children face is to raise awareness of the issues and ensure collective action can be ignited from educators to the private sector. We all have a responsibility to create a safe place to learn and connect in cyberspace as it becomes more ingrained in everything we do.”
The Middle East and Latin America reported the most online threats to children.
A large majority of children surveyed for the report (83 percent) said they would warn their parents or ask for their help if they felt threatened or threatened online. Conversely, however, only 39 percent of parents surveyed said their child or children had never raised a concern with them, raising the question of how to ensure child safety online when parents are unaware of the potential dangers always aware of while surfing the internet or interacting with others on social media.
“With nearly all 12-year-olds now online and virtual learning on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, child safety in cyberspace is an urgent concern that requires an immediate solution,” said David Panhans, BCG’s Managing Director and Partner .
“Everyone involved in the online and child safeguarding ecosystem has a role to play, from international organizations, regulators and law enforcement agencies, parents, carers and education providers to private sector technology companies.”
The report urges all stakeholders to take action to ensure more robust solutions and security frameworks are in place to mitigate the threats children face online.
The upcoming GCF will bring together industry leaders from around the world to discuss child protection online, among many other important issues such as geopolitical considerations.
The event is scheduled to take place this year from November 9th to 10th in the capital of the Kingdom of Riyadh under the motto “Rethinking the Global Cyber Order”.
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