Cyberattacks against children, also known as cyberbullying or online harassment, have become a worrying problem in the digital age. These attacks can take various forms and have serious emotional and psychological consequences for young people. Attacks can encompass a range of behaviors, including online harassment, cyberbullying, online threats and the distribution of harmful or offensive content through digital means.
Kaspersky experts found that cybercriminals launched more than 7 million attacks against children by exploiting popular games in 2022. Their research shows that cyberattacks against a younger age group increased by 57% compared to to 2021.
Recently, the DQ Institute released its 2023 Children Online Safety Index (COSI), a national-level measure designed to help countries effectively monitor the state of children’s online safety.
The index reveals that a high percentage – almost 70% – of children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 worldwide have faced at least one cyber risk in the past year. This alarming statistic has remained virtually unchanged since the last index in 2018, demonstrating that it is a persistent phenomenon. The index is based on data collected from a sample of 351,376 children from 2017 to present.
Dr. Yuhyun Park, founder of the DQ Institute, said: “We have witnessed seven years of consistently high cyber risk exposure rates of 70% among children and young people aged 8 to 18 . We now call this phenomenon a “persistent cyber pandemic.” Today, with the rapid deployment of generative AI, the metaverse and ubiquitous XR (Extended Reality) devices, digital technology is changing children’s lives even more, but its potentially harmful effects are little known. discussions. Global coordinated action, similar to the fight against climate change, is imperative and we cannot delay any longer.
The Index introduces a four-point rating scale for policymakers and industry leaders to accurately identify strengths and areas for improvement in their children’s online safety initiatives and measures. According to the Index, the United Kingdom, Germany, And China were the best performers in all dimensions. The best performing players in each pillar are:
- Safe use of technology by children: United Kingdom and Australia
- Family support: India and Singapore
- Digital citizenship education at school: Italy and Taiwan
- Responsibility of the ICT company: Germany and France
- Government policies and regulations: Canada and France
- Technological infrastructure: Korea and China
Additionally, Saudi Arabia, which hosts the Global Cybersecurity Forum (GCF), demonstrated significant improvements compared to the previous year. Saudi Arabia excels in the areas of safe use of technology by children, responsibilities of ICT companies and technology infrastructure, while opportunities for improvement exist in family support, education to digital citizenship in schools and government policies and regulations.