The 2012 European strategy for a better internet for children protects and empowers children online through EU funding, coordination and self-regulation. This initiative will update it, given changes in children’s use of digital technology, the acceleration of the digital transformation caused by COVID-19, and the ‘Digital Decade’. The new strategy will promote skills to help children benefit from the opportunities offered by technology and protect them from online threats.
We welcome the roadmap on a New European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children, and its aim to strengthen the protection and empowerment of children online in the EU. Along with accelerated digital transformation in the past years and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s use of new digital technologies has increased, and so have the associated challenges and opportunities. An update of the Strategy is welcome as it offers opportunities to take both on the advantages as the challenges to help children thrive and protect their rights, including their right to health and psychosocial wellbeing in digital environments. Through focused input on key elements of the updated Strategy, EuroHealthNet calls for a renewed approach to how children and adolescents’ rights to healthy, commercial, and digital interest-free childhoods should be taken forward, and that it is within the EU and national governments’ remit to act. EuroHealthNet made several suggestions for a strategy that promotes healthy Internet use.