Is the commotion about a new bill on online child abuse justified?

Almost all young people can be found online. Besides all the good things the internet brings, there are also risks. For example, social media can affect your mental well-being. In addition, grooming (digital child locks) also takes place and images of child abuse are shared online.

Swedish European Commissioner Ylva Johansson wants to tackle online child abuse. Proponents of the new bill are positive about the fact that the approach will soon be laid down in law. Opponents of the proposal fear for citizens’ privacy. According to them, it would be about ‘mass surveillance’. Read more about the new online child abuse bill in this article.

Figures online child abuse

The Netherlands plays a major role in the distribution of illegal material. This was first noticed in 2014. In total, the Netherlands is responsible for 45% of the child pornography found worldwide. The exact figures on the number of children experiencing online abuse are not known. The Council of Europe estimated that one in five children is a victim of this crime. No less than 80% of girls between the ages of 10 and 14 have had to deal with receiving an (unsolicited) nude photo. In addition, 45% have experienced someone offering them money or threatening to send them nude photos.

New bill

According to the bill, internet companies are responsible for taking measures against, among other things, grooming and the distribution of images with child abuse. The law concerns both prevention and enforcement. For internet companies, the intention is that message traffic is scanned. The security of, for example, Whatsapp, Telegram and Signal will have to be weakened.

This change has sparked quite a discussion. According to privacy organization Bits of Freedom, the vulnerable group is actually endangered. Means of communication will become less safe with the new bill. Not only children, but also journalists and lawyers, for example, must be able to trust that communication is done safely.

Are you a parent and do you want to discuss online safety with your child or children? On Defense for Children you will find various free flyers (available in 15 different languages) with tips for parents.

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