Technology is a magnificent platform to give children and young people a voice; it can empower them to be heard - and hold us adults to account. But we need to minimise some of the very scary risks that can come with this. That’s why Child Wise has launched a digital child safeguarding practice that maximises the benefits of technology for kids while protecting against some of its most insidious dangers.
However, more than safeguarding children as consumers of technology, the Child Wise practice also covers prevention and intervention of the horrific and insidious production and access to child sexual abuse material by offenders.
Child Wise works directly with social media platforms to institute, review and strengthen safeguards for their child-consumers. At the same time, Child Wise works with Australian companies to combat the unexpectedly high amount of child sexual abuse offending which is performed on their own corporate devices. Companies are shocked to learn that a significant amount of child sexual abuse offending is performed on their own company assets.
Many organisations right now are paralysed by the question of how to deploy technology with children and families, whether they be clients or consumers of their products. 30 years of child safeguarding experience has shown us very clearly that the risk of abuse and harm to children has moved to the online environment. It co-exists with the risks that we already know about in physical environments.
As the international ‘go-to’ organisation for child safeguarding, products, learning and consultancy, Child Wise believes digital safeguarding is about more than just safety around children using social media. It also includes giving children and young people a voice to share the risks faced with text messages, online gaming, and other forums outside the usual perceptions of ‘online’. The Child Wise digital child safeguarding practice covers all of these aspects. In addition, their digital child safeguarding program looks at the prevention and intervention of horrific and insidious production and access to child sexual abuse material by offenders.
Managing Director of Child Wise, Natalie Siegel-Brown, says “organisations need to have processes to ensure safety from abuse and harm by adults or even other children in the organisation. It also means safety from unintended consequences of actions by organisations that harm children."
“We also know that asking children and young people to abstain from technology is not the answer. Quite the opposite. For many children and young people, technology is their vehicle for safety. Young people have told us they disclose abuse using some of our partner apps, that they would never have disclosed prior to the advent of mobile devices. Technology is also a magnificent platform to advance and amplify their voice, empowerment and participation as equal partners with adults in society. To that effect, digital safeguarding stems from listening to children and protecting them as an organisation."
“We want to maximise expression while minimising the risks.”
“For companies that are truly safeguarding every aspect of their business, we provide a mark of accreditation, which speaks of this assurance to their consumers and stakeholders.”
In order to strengthen their offering, Child Wise has partnered with UK based Mind of My Own to give children an opportunity to have their voices heard, and promotes Stymie to increase reporting and detention of harm across settings, such as schools.
The Child Wise Digital Safeguarding practice focuses on 4 main pillars:
- Technology as a vehicle for disclosures and child voice - Children and young people are enabled to raise concerns and have a voice in what makes them feel safe or unsafe via accessible digital tools.
- Safeguarding children as digital consumers - Expert guidance is provided around the implementation of safeguarding mechanisms.
- Interception of abuse - Organisations are supported with workplace detection of workforce breaches, pre-employment working with children checks, and other industry accreditations.
- Prevention: Thought Leadership and Education - Platforms are provided for young people to be heard about issues that affect them directly and on a daily basis.
For more information about Child Wise’s digital safeguarding program, visit Digital Child Safeguarding - Child Wise
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About Child Wise
Child Wise was the first Australian organisation to develop safeguarding standards to evaluate and strengthen child safety practice.
In 2018, they welcomed the introduction of the National Principles (National Principles) for Child Safe Organisations, which reflects their pioneering work.