Brussels, 6th of February 2024

#SaferInternetDay is an online campaign to combat abusive material on the internet. FAFCE recalls our campaigning at the European level to better detect and prevent abusive material online, especially with regards to minors.

Last week, members of the European Parliament passed an extension to the current rules that allow for the detection of Child Sexual Abuse Material online. The Civil Liberties Committee adopted its position on the extension of measures to protect children online by identifying and preventing child sexual abuse.

The President of FAFCE, Vincenzo Bassi, said: “This extension to the current rules on protecting minors online is necessary and widely supported. The detection and prevention of abuse material needs long-term solutions. This is an urgent issue that cannot be be dealt with only through extending temporary measures. We hope that the extension will be followed by concrete action that does not require a dependence on temporary extension after temporary extension”.

On 20 December, the European Commission added three adult platforms to the systemic risk list of the Digital Services Act. FAFCE reminds that children’s exposure to po***graphy is already a form of online sexual abuse that our societies are tolerating: together with Pope Francis, FAFCE recalls that po***graphy represents an issue of public health and that “we would be seriously deluding ourselves were we to think that a society where an abnormal consumption of internet sex is rampant among adults could be capable of effectively protecting minors”.

A report published in 2022 by the Internet Watch Foundation denounces that the 62% of all the CSAM globally is traced to an EU member state. Moreover, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has recently published a new report denouncing that the production and consumption of po***graphy have exploited and that almost a third or all online searches are about po***ography.

FAFCE contributed to the public Consultation launched by the European Commission on this issue, on 12 September 2022. FAFCE welcomed this extension and reiterates its calls for the inclusion of age verification systems, and parental controls. FAFCE urges the EU institutions to consider the following steps: (i) a EU ban on po***graphy and (ii) the fight against the oversexualisation of children; (iii) further analyze the links between po***graphy consumption and child sexual abuse.

Vincenzo Bassi calls for “parents and family organisations to be further included in the decision-making processes at the European, national and local levels. They hold the primary role in the education and the protection of their children. They should be empowered with effective information and training as the first step to protect children from sexual violence”.