WHO report evaluates educational programmes for youth on online safety and violence against children.

The WHO report on what works in preventing online violence against children, based on a review of evaluations of online safety programmes for youth, found strong evidence that prevention education for children can work and can increase safety and health in general.

Based on a review of evaluations of online safety programmes and online VAC programmes for children and adolescents, the report ‘What Works to Prevent Online Violence Against Children‘ discovered strong evidence that prevention education for children can work, and that it is a key strategy for addressing online VAC. Educational programmes have been widely demonstrated to improve overall safety and health. These educational programmes are particularly effective in preventing one type of online VAC – cyberbullying (both victimisation and perpetration).

This report also captured a number of structural and skill components which contribute to the effectiveness of educational programmes and should be widely adopted.
* Structural components include multiple and varied learning strategies and tools; more lessons, more message exposures, more reminders, and follow-ups; using peer engagement, role-plays, and interactions; getting a supportive whole-school environment; parental involvement.
* Skill components include problem-solving, assertiveness, empathy, self-regulation, help-seeking, bystander or defender mobilisation, social norm instruction, sex education, and substance abuse education.

The report also revealed that there is a lack of evidence about the success of prevention programmes for online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The report suggested the implementation of school-based educational programmes with multiple sessions that encourage youth interaction and involve parents. It emphasised the need for more violence prevention programmes that integrate content about online dangers with offline violence prevention. It suggested less emphasis on stranger danger and more emphasis on acquaintance and peer perpetrators, who are responsible for the majority of online violence against children.