On the 19th of September 2023, a remarkable event unfolded in the heart of Brussels, as passionate campaigners from across Europe united for a common cause—keeping children safe online.
The Child Safety ON! campaign organized a Day of Action that drew a diverse group of advocates to raise awareness about the pressing issue of child sexual abuse on the internet.
This powerful gathering, featuring youth activists, survivors, and child rights campaigners from 12 European Union member states, showcased a resounding call for change.
The Day of Action in Brussels was a testament to the strength of a united community determined to protect our children. Attendees came from various backgrounds but shared a common goal: to make the online world a safer place for the youngest members of society.
Among the participants were 10 youth activists, who represent the future generation that will be most affected by online safety measures. Additionally, six survivors of child sexual abuse stood as living proof of the urgency of the cause. Their presence reminded everyone of the real-life consequences of online dangers.
In total, 30 dedicated child rights campaigners, hailing from 12 different EU member states, lent their voices and expertise to the event, reinforcing the collective impact of the Day of Action.
The Morning Protest
The action-packed day began with a compelling protest at Place de Luxembourg, right in front of the European Parliament building. The symbolism of this location was not lost on anyone, as it underscored the importance of legislative action in addressing the issue of child sexual abuse online.
Pictured: Attendees donned Hazmat suits, bearing the distinctive branding of the Child Safety ON! campaign, making a powerful statement about the toxic nature of online threats to children.
Carrying placards and banners adorned with shocking statistics and information about the spread of child sexual abuse online, the campaigners captured the attention of passersby and the media. Their passionate chants and speeches resonated with the onlookers, urging them to join the cause and protect the innocence of our children in the digital age.
The Afternoon Advocacy
The impact of the Day of Action extended beyond the morning protest. In the afternoon, participants engaged in 26 meetings with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and Permanent Representations. Armed with kits containing detailed information about legislation needed to combat child sexual abuse online, campaigners left no stone unturned in their advocacy efforts.
These meetings were instrumental in fostering dialogue and cooperation between campaigners and lawmakers. The campaigners shared their concerns, experiences, and insights on the challenges faced by children online. They also presented solutions and sought the commitment of MEPs to support the necessary legislative changes.
The Power of Unity
The Child Safety ON! Day of Action in Brussels exemplified the power of unity and collective action in addressing a critical issue. The attendees, representing different backgrounds and experiences, came together as one voice to demand a safer digital environment for children. They emphasised that the responsibility for child safety online rests not only with individuals but also with governments, institutions, and corporations.
The event in Brussels serves as a shining example of how grassroots movements can make a profound impact on the legislative process. By combining the voices of survivors, youth activists, and child rights campaigners, the Child Safety ON! campaign created a compelling call to action that resonated with policymakers.
As we move forward, it is our hope that the impact of this Day of Action will continue to reverberate, leading to legislative changes and a safer online environment for children.
Our campaign needs your support! There’s plenty to do…
- Join the half a million Europeans who have signed the petition, organized by our partner Justice Initiative.
- Use our Tweet Your Leader tool to tell politicians in your country that you support new EU child safety laws.
- Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
The commitment and passion displayed in Brussels are a testament to the unwavering dedication of all those involved in the Child Safety ON! campaign, and it serves as an inspiration to advocates worldwide working to protect our children from the dangers of the digital age.