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Young people, sexual rights and the internet

In our work, we increasingly see that the online environment has become an important tool through which children and young people seek information and experience their sexuality. There is nothing odd or unusual about this, given that young people and children are so intimately involved in the online environment.
In fact, the online environment provides many positive opportunities for children to learn and to discuss sex and sexual orientation and to explore their own sexuality.

However, we also see that children and young people sometimes are exposed to negative or harmful consequences of their own and other people’s behaviour online, often because of lack of experience and knowledge. eNACSO wants to address this, so that children can enjoy the benefits of the online environment in a positive, empowering and safe way.

As children and young people turn to, and increasingly rely on the internet as a means of accessing information, expression, experimentation and meeting others, it is vital to develop a holistic approach that at the same time maximises opportunities and promotes children’s rights to be protected from harm. This requires explicit attention to child protection when developing new online opportunities and, conversely, explicit attention to children’s positive rights (information, expression, participation) when developing new safety practices or resources.

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