Safe Surfing: Understanding Child Online Activity | Global Cybersecurity Forum

Experts discussed child online safety at the session Safe Surfing, addressing issues like child sexual abuse material, cyber risks, and the importance of global cooperation. Saudi Arabia introduced the National Child Safety Online Framework to protect children engaging in online activities, emphasizing collaboration between families, educators, and law enforcement. Funding for online child safety remains a concern, with a call for increased global engagement to strengthen safety measures. Dr. Yuhyun Park highlighted the Persistent Cyber Pandemic, stressing the need for comprehensive safety measures and policy regulations. Visit the session report for more information on safeguarding children online.

 Person, Adult, Male, Man, Female, Woman, Accessories, Formal Wear, Tie, Baby, Head, Face, Crowd, Chair, Furniture, Song Aimin
The message contains various keywords related to people, accessories, and formal wear like ties, as well as mention of Song Aimin.

At the session titled ‘Safe Surfing: Understanding Child Online Activity‘, experts convened to discuss the issue of ensuring children’s safety in the digital sphere. Among the distinguished speakers were Iain Drennan, Executive Director of WeProtect Global Alliance, Dr Yuhyun Park, renowned cybersecurity expert, and Dr. Maimoonah Alkhalil, Secretary General of The Family Affairs Council in Saudi Arabia.

The growing threat

Iain Drennan began by highlighting the concerning trend of child sexual abuse material proliferating online. This growing threat encompasses not only explicit content but also the alarming practice of children being tricked into providing intimate images. The use of AI and deepfake technology further exacerbates this issue. Drennan stressed the importance of international cooperation in addressing child sexual abuse online. He commended Saudi Arabia’s proactive step in initiating a holistic framework to combat this problem. Drennan emphasized that the responsibility for child online safety lies with a global and national community, including the government and the private sector. Empowering children with online tools and user-friendly reporting systems is vital.

Finally, Drennan pointed out that funding for online child safety is inadequate and unevenly distributed, despite progress in legislation and regulations. The hope is that global engagement will lead to stronger measures for online safety.

A persistent cyber pandemic

Dr Yuhyun Park presented the findings of the report titled ‘Persistent Cyber Pandemic.’ This report highlighted a concerning trend in which 70% of children between the ages of 8 and 18 have consistently been exposed to at least one cyber risk for a period of seven years. The report emphasized that addressing cyber risk is not solely a children’s or family matter but rather a persistent problem that requires the collective efforts of all stakeholders. Dr Park stressed the significance of policy and regulation in addressing cyber risks. She underlined the need for end-to-end safety measures, ranging from prevention to intervention and reporting.

Safeguarding children in Saudi Arabia

Dr Maimoonah Alkhalil provided valuable insights into the online landscape in Saudi Arabia, where nearly 99% of children engage in various online activities, including socializing and gaming. However, this increased involvement also presents significant risks, with children vulnerable to safety threats and exposure to inappropriate content.

To address these concerns about child safety online, Saudi Arabia has introduced the National Child Safety Online Framework, developed with input from numerous stakeholders. This framework will be overseen by the Family Affairs Council, responsible for its implementation, tracking, and reporting over a five-year period. Dr Alkhalil stressed the importance of families, educators, legislation, and law enforcement in creating a safe online environment for children. Open conversations, awareness campaigns, and reporting systems are essential components of child online safety.

The Digital Watch Observatory will provide just-in-time reporting from the GCF, leveraging our AI-driven App. Visit our dedicated page for all the latest insights and reports. We look forward to engaging with you throughout GCF 2023 as we collectively chart the shared priorities in cyberspace.


These resources are generated automatically by DiploAI system from the audiovisual recording. Resources have been kept in their original format, as AI has provided them (e.g. including spelling mistakes). The accuracy of the resources cannot therefore be guaranteed.