The rights of the child are part of human rights: rights that the EU and its Member States must respect, protect and fulfil. The Treaty on European Union establishes the objective for the EU to promote protection of the rights of the child. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU guarantees the protection of the rights of the child by the EU institutions and by EU countries when they implement EU law. Over the years the European Parliament has been instrumental in pushing children's rights to the core of European policies, particularly through its Intergroup on Children's Rights.
On 14 November 2023, the Civil Liberties Committee adopted its position on new measures to protect children online by preventing and stopping child sexual abuse. The draft Parliament position was adopted by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs with 51 votes in favour, 2 against, and 1 abstaining. Inter-institutional negotiations were authorised with 48 in favour, 2 against, and 4 abstaining.
To protect children online, the new rules would mandate internet providers to assess whether there is a significant risk of their services being misused for online child sexual abuse and to solicit children, and to take measures to mitigate these risks. MEPs want mitigation measures to be targeted, proportionate and effective, and providers should be able to decide which ones to use.
They also want to ensure that pornographic sites have adequate age verification systems, flagging mechanisms for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and human content moderation to process these reports. To stop minors being solicited online, MEPs propose that services targeting children should require by default user consent for unsolicited messages, have blocking and muting options, and boost parental control.
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