Children and Digital Media

It is important that children’s participation and rights are safeguarded in the digital environment. Every child has the right to a good and safe childhood. Child Protection and Finnish Hotline promotes the Guidelines to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment. 

Save the Children Finland maintains the Finnish Hotline, through which you can anonymously report images and videos related to sexual violence against children. Each year we assess thousands of reports related to child sexual violence. We also train professionals and produce materials and online services. Our aim is to improve people’s ability to identify problems concerning online child sexual violence and take actions to prevent them.

International cooperation
Save the Children is a partner in the Finnish Safer Internet Centre initiative, part of the EU Commission’s Safer Internet programme, in which the National Audio-visual Institute and the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare are also involved. Save the Children is responsible for the hotline activity part of the project, as well as producing materials related to the topic and development of the project.

We are also involved in the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online (e-Nasco), which comprises organisations that carry out online safety work in the context of children’s rights. The network conducts lobbying and information activities and promotes the realisation of children’s rights in digital media.

Improving children’s digital skills, guiding and empowering children is crucial for children’s online safety. A safe relationship with open communication between a child and a parent safeguards a child also concerning gaming

It is vital for parents to express interest in their children’s hobbies, and to be willing to learn about the world of gaming. From a child’s perspective, it is crucial for a parent to be aware of the child’s spare time activities, and whether the games played are age-appropriate and suitable for the child’s developmental stage.

When a parent has familiarized him or herself with the world of games, the issue of gaming can be brought up as part of everyday chat with a child. As a result, it is also easier for the child to open up about possible problem situations if the lines of communication concerning gaming are already open. A safe relationship with open communication between a child and a parent forms the foundation for doing things together. A parent does not need to be a game wizard or a digital whiz, what counts is that he or she is interested in the child’s hobby and allows the child to talk about it.

How to initiate a conversation about gaming with a child – Five key questions by Save the Children
1. What have you been up to today? Have you been playing some games?
2. What did you play? What happened in the game?
3. How did you do, and what did you learn from the game?
4. What are your next steps in the game?
5. How would you like me to be involved?

Gaming constitutes an integral part of children and adolescents’ lives. Children must, however, be safeguarded against harmful content, and vital safety skills need to be borne in mind.

Age ratings on games are not recommendations; rather, they have been set to warn about potentially harmful content and that is why they need to be taken seriously. It is important for parents to manage the games their children play by checking the age ratings.

Ideally, having a healthy and active hobby can help children improve their digital skills and enable viewing these skills as strength

Save the Children Finland and Telia Finland have engaged in groundbreaking collaboration to combat common adverse phenomena associated with gaming, such as game addiction, excessive time consumption on games, and ignoring age ratings. This close collaboration was built to advocate children’s rights and to support parents in gaining better skills with which to make sense of the gaming world their children navigate in. Save the Children were also involved in Assembly, the largest gaming event in Finland.

Sexual harassment and related bullying in digital media is quite common according to our report

Parents might also want to read our report on sexual harassment and the related bullying in digital media as experienced by children and adolescents. When taking action is necessary, relying on knowledge is the best policy – knowledge also forms the best shield for children in digital media! The summary of the report is over here.