Child Helpline International and Telenor Group team up to help children stay safe online

Press release
8 minute read
- A record number of nearly 25 million children and young people across the world contacted a child helpline in 2016. In response to this growing need for support, Child Helpline International and Telenor Group have partnered to build capacity among child helpline counsellors and are launching their first online training module on child online protection. This module is available to child helpline counsellors and volunteers around the world as of today.

New online training module launched

The module will introduce child helpline counsellors and volunteers to the essentials of child online safety and digital skills to build competence of frontline support staff. It includes practical learning scenarios that child helpline counsellors encounter when talking to children about cyberbullying, inappropriate and illegal content and online sexual abuse. The module has been developed in collaboration with child helplines in Telenor markets and Child Helpline International’s Youth Advisory Council, #Youth. It is currently available in English.

“This is the first time we are able to provide an online ‘learning by doing’ experience. The module is designed to reflect the daily working experiences of child helpline counsellors and volunteers to make sure the learning can be applied directly in their work,” says Magdalena Aguilar, Co-Chief Executive at Child Helpline International.

More children seek help related to online issues

”The data shows an increase in children reaching out for support regarding online issues such as cyberbullying or online sexual abuse. At Telenor, we see the importance in ensuring that this need is met with high quality support from well-trained counsellors. This is why are investing in building capacity at an institution designed to be a safety net for children in distress. We are strengthening existing mechanisms through digital means,” says Mai Oldgard, Head of Sustainability at Telenor Group. “Along with experienced partners, we aim to stimulate a supportive ecosystem that addresses risks and grows resilience,” she added.

"In the age of the internet, it is essential for all the stakeholders to come together and plan for the collective safety of our children online. I am very happy that this e-learning module has taken shape after a large consultation exercise, especially from the youth who are pivotal in the digital world," says Divyansh Dev, member of Child Helpline International’s #Youth.

Building on the Sustainable Development Goals

The project is grounded in Telenor’s and Child Helpline International’s strong commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities, and SDG 16.2 – the eradication of abuse and violence against children.

”Children everywhere deserve to be empowered equally in order to both benefit from digital opportunities and stay safe online,” comments Oldgard. “As part of our commitment to SDG 10, every Telenor Group company is reaching out to educate and train children to be safe online. We aim to reach four million children by 2020.”

No longer a divide between online and offline lives of children

“There is no longer a strong divide between the offline and online lives of children. To work towards the eradication of abuse and violence against children now and in the future, we need to be knowledgeable about how abuse operates in the online sphere,” added Aguilar.

Both Child Helpline International and Telenor Group have a history of promoting and building capacity for child helplines in the area of online safety. Their shared intention is for this work to continue.

“Child helplines are often the first, and sometimes only point of contact a child has with a child protection system. We will continue to work with our partners, members and #Youth to stay up to date with digital developments to make sure we provide the best possible support for children and young people,” Aguilar concludes.

About Telenor Group

Telenor has been delivering communication services since 1855, and is today one of the world’s major mobile operators across markets in Scandinavia, Central Eastern Europe and Asia. In the context of Telenor’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 10 Reduced Inequalities , Telenor has taken many initiatives to provide children and parents with tools on child online protection and how to stay safe online through the global programme Be Smart Use Heart.

About Child Helpline International

Child Helpline International is one of the world’s largest collective impact organisations, a network of 181 organisations in 147 countries (December 2017), which fields millions of contacts a year from children and young people in need of support and protection. Since its founding in 2003, it has supported the creation and strengthening of child helplines, and interpreted child helpline data to highlight gaps in child protection systems, and to advocate for the rights of children and youth around the world. Every child has a voice and Child Helpline International’s network strives to make their voices heard, respected and acted upon.