Against new forms of abuse

Against new forms of abuse

Pontifical Gregorian University: symposium on child abuse on the Internet © Nicolas Armer

Child abuse on the Internet is the topic of a congress of the Pontifical Gregorian University, which will be held from 3. to 6. October in Rome. Finally, a statement on protecting children in the digital world was planned, he said.

At the international conference, some 140 experts from academia, business and civil society, as well as politics and religion, are expected to explore new dangers such as trolling, cyber-bullying, sexual exploitation and cyber grooming.

According to information from the organizers on Thursday, this is the first congress on this topic with the participation of global experts. The conference is organized by the Child Protection Center of the Gregoriana together with the "WePROTECT Global Alliance" association.

Platform for knowledge and experience exchange

Of the world's 3.2 billion Internet users, more than a quarter are children, he said. These are exposed to new forms of harmful behavior and abuse, a press release on the meeting said in advance.

The goal of the congress is to provide a "platform for an intensive exchange of knowledge and experience about dangers and measures to protect children in the digital world," explained the director of the Child Protection Center, German Jesuit Hans Zollner.

Opportunities and risks

Joanna Shields, the UK Minister for Internet Safety, called for a broad coalition of government and religious leaders, as well as academics and business representatives, to work to protect children's dignity in the digital age at the meeting. Internet opens up many opportunities for children, but also exposes them to risks.

An audience with Pope Francis is planned for the last day of the congress. At the event, participants plan to present a "declaration on protecting the dignity of children in the digital world," according to the announcement.

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