Children at increased risk of harm online during global COVID-19 pandemic - UNICEF

15 April 2020
Children at increased risk of harm online during global COVID-19 pandemic - UNICEF
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2019/Nsoares

Newly released technical note aims to help governments, ICT companies, educators and parents protect children in lockdown 

NEW YORK, 15 April 2020 – Millions of children are at increased risk of harm as their lives move increasingly online during lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF and partners said today. 

“The coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented rise in screen time,” said Global Partnership to End Violence Executive Director Dr. Howard Taylor. “School closures and strict containment measures mean more and more families are relying on technology and digital solutions to keep children learning, entertained and connected to the outside world, but not all children have the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to keep themselves safe online.”

More than 1.5 billion children and young people have been affected by school closures worldwide. Many of these students are now taking classes as well as socializing more online. Spending more time on virtual platforms can leave children vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and grooming, as predators look to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of face-to-face contact with friends and partners may lead to heightened risk-taking such as sending sexualized images, while increased and unstructured time online may expose children to potentially harmful and violent content as well as greater risk of cyberbullying. 

UNICEF together with its partners, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), WePROTECT Global Alliance, World Health Organization (WHO), and World Childhood Foundation USA, is releasing a new technical note aimed at urging governments, ICT industries, educators and parents to be alert, take urgent measures to mitigate potential risks, and ensure children’s online experiences are safe and positive during COVID-19. 

“Under the shadow of COVID-19, the lives of millions of children have temporarily shrunk to just their homes and their screens. We must help them navigate this new reality,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “We call on governments and industry to join forces to keep children and young people safe online through enhanced safety features and new tools to help parents and educators teach their children how to use the internet safely.” 

The preliminary recommended actions to mitigate online risks for children during COVID-19 include:
• Governments: Bolster core child protection services to make sure they remain open and active throughout the pandemic; train health, education and social service workers on the impacts that COVID-19 may have on child well-being, including increased online risks; step up awareness raising and educational initiatives on child online safety, and make sure social service providers, schools, parents and children are aware of local reporting mechanisms and have support numbers of local helplines and hotlines.

• Information technology industry including social networking platforms: Ensure online platforms have enhanced safety and safeguarding measures, especially virtual learning tools, and that they are clearly accessible to educators, parents and children; promote and facilitate child safety referral services and helplines; develop standard moderation policies that are aligned with children’s rights; employ built-in protection measures while innovating as appropriate, and provide internet connectivity to improve access for disadvantaged children in low-income households. 

• Schools: Update current safeguarding policies to reflect the new realities for children learning from home; promote and monitor good online behaviours and ensure that children have continued access to school-based counselling services. 

• Parents: Ensure children’s devices have the latest software updates and antivirus programs; have open dialogues with children on how and with whom they are communicating online; work with children to establish rules for how, when, and where the internet can be used; be alert to signs of distress in children that may emerge in connection with their online activity, and be familiar with school district policies and local reporting mechanisms and have access to numbers of support helplines and hotline handy. 

In Timor-Leste, UNICEF has been working with a youth collective, Hamutuk Ita Rezolve, to raise awareness and drive action to protect children, adolescents and youth online. 


For further information, please contact:
Helen Wylie, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 244 2215,



UNICEF-Labarik sira iha aumentu risku ba perigu durante pandemia global COVID-19

Nota teknika foin lansa ho objetivu atu ajuda governu, kompañia ICT sira, edukador no inan-aman sira hodi proteje labarik sira durante blokeiu 

Nova Yorke, 15 Abril 2020 – Labarik sira tokon ba tokon enfrenta aumenta risku ba perigu tamba sira nia moris muda liu ba online durante blokeamentu ba pandemia COVID-19, dehan UNICEF ho nia parseiru sira ohin.  

“Pandemia koronavirus kauza aumentu ba tempu barak liu ba tela,” dehan Diretor Exekutivu Global ba Parseria ba Hapara Violensia Dr. Howard Taylor. “Eskola taka no restrisaun konsiste husi medida sira katak familia barak mak depende liu ba solusaun teknolojia no dijital atu manten labarik sira estuda, divertidu no asesu ba mundu iha liur, maibe laos labarik hotu iha koñesimentu nesesaria, abilidade no rekursu sira atu maten sira-nia a’an rasik seguru iha online.”

Labarik no foinsa’e millaun 1,5 liu mak afetadu ona tamba eskola taka iha mundu tomak. Estudante barak mak tuir eskola nune’e mós sosializa liu ba online. Gasta tempu barak-liu ba plataforma virtual sira bele halo labarik sira sai vulneravel ba esplorasaun seksual online no pinta-an, hanesan predator sira hein atu esplora pandemia COVID-19. Kuran hasoru-malu oin ho oin ho maluk no familia sira bele lori risku bo’ot ba simu imajen seksualizadu sira, wainhira tempu ba online aumenta no la estrukturadu bele tau labarik sira ba potensialidade perigu tebes no konteudu violentu no mós risku bo’ot ba gozu sibernetiku.   

UNICEF hamutuk ho nia parseiru sira, Parseiru Global ba Hapara Violensia Hasoru Labarik Sira, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), WePROTECT Global Allience, World Health Organization (WHO), no World Childhood Foundation USA, lansa ona nota tekniku foun ho objetivu atu enkoraja governu sira, industria ICT, edukador no inan-aman sira atu alerta, hola medida urgente sita atu mitiga risku potensial sira, no garante labarik sira online hetan esperiensia seguru no pozitivu durante COVID-19.

“Iha COVID-19 nia mahon, labarik tokon ba tokon nia moris temporariamente iha uma no ba tela (layer) sira. Ita tenke ajuda sira hodi hasoru realidade foun ne’e,” dehan Diretora Exekutiva UNICEF Henrietta Fore. “Ita apela ba governu no industria sira atu tau hamutuk forsa atu maten labarik sira no foinsa’e sira segura iha online liu husi rekursu apropriadu sira seguransa-nian no instrumentu foun atu ajuda inan-aman no edukador sira hanorin sira-nia labarik sira oinsá uza internet ho seguru."  

Rekomendasaun preliminaria ba asaun sira atu mitiga risku online ba labarik sira durante COVID-19 inklui:
• Governu sira: reforsa servisu protesaun labarik atu garante katak sira manten onestu no ativu durante pandemia; treina saúde, edukasaun no servidor servisu sosial sira kona-ba impaktu COVID-19 ba labarik-nia moris di’ak, inklui aumentu husi risku online; intensifika inisitiva konsientizasaun edukasional kona-ba labarik online seguru, no garante servidor servisu sosial, eskola, inan-aman no labarik sira konsiente ba mekanismu realatoriu lokal sira no apoia membru liña lokal ba apoiu no liña direta lokal sira. 

• Informasaun industria teknolojia inklui rede plataforma social: Asegura plataforma online sira reforsa seguransa no medida salvaguarda sira, espesialmente instrumentu aprendizajen virtual sira, no sira hetan asesu klaru ba edukador, inan-aman no labarik sira; promove no fasilita servisu referal ba labarik seguru no liña ba apoiu; dezenvolve politika padraun moderasaun mak aliña ho labarik sira-nia direitu; imprega medida protesaun integrada no halo inovasaun karik presiza, no fornese konetividade internet atu hadi’ak asesu ba labarik desfavoresida sira iha uma-kain ho rendimentu ki’ik.   

• Eskola sira: atualiza politika atual sira hodi refleta realidade foun ba labarik sira-nia aprendizajen iha uma; promove no monitoriza ambiente online di’ak sira no garante katak labarik sira hetan asesu kontinua ba eskola-bazeadu ba servisu akonsellamentu.

• Inan-aman sira: Garante labarik sira-nia despozitivu infantil halo atualizasaun ba sira-nia software ho programa anti-virus modernu; halao diálogu abertu ho labarik sira kona-ba oinsá no ho sé sira halo komunikasaun online; servisu ho labarik sira hodi estabelese regra oinsá, wainhira no iha ne’ebe internet bele uza; alerta ba sinal hasusar ba labarik sira mak bele hetan husi konekasaun ho sira-nia atividade online, no familiariza ho politika eskola distritu sira, no mekanismu relatoriu lokal no hetan asesu ba númeru apoiu liña lokal ba apoiu no liña direta ho liman. 

Iha Timor-Leste, UNICEF servisu ona ho foinsa’e koletiva, Hamutuk Ita Rezolve, atu konsientiza no halo asaun hodi proteje labarik, adolesente no foinsa’e sira husi online.


Ba informasaun detallu, bele kontaktu:
Helen Wylie, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 244 2215,

Media contacts

Rukshan Ratnam
Communication Specialist (English)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +67077231103
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1820
Antonio Gomes
Communication Officer (Tetum)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +670 7723 2441
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1821


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