54th Human Rights Council Reports

Discussion on Cyberbullying Against Children

Report on the Human Rights Council 54th Session

11 September 2023 – 13 October 2023

Meeting Date: 27th September 2023


Panel Discussion on Cyberbullying Against Children

Report from the Panel:

Beginning with opening statements by a panel of four experts regarding resolution 51/10. Cyberbullying threatens sustainable development and is a direct attack on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, specifically goals 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 16. The experts:

  • Ms. Nada al-Nashif, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights:

    • Explained cyberbullying as a combination of Human Rights issues, rapid digitalization, and issue of policy installment,

    • Certified that cyberbullying is equivalent to a public health concern, it is a form of abuse and violence,

    • Clarified the gendered experience of the victims, girls are almost twice as likely as boys to suffer,

    • Emphasized that it creates further victimization on those who already face 'traditional' bullying practices,

    • Called for the implementation of preventative measures within States, and

    • Recommended that States review and correct their digital policy laws, specifically within the context of online companies.

  • Mr. Phillip Jaffé, Committee on the Rights of the Child:

    • Emphasized the modernity of the digital world and its rapid development,

    • Informed the council that cyberbullying affects 1 in 3 children worldwide,

    • Explained that victims are disproportionately people from already vulnerable groups,

    • Clarified that different forms of media affect the form cyberbullying takes and that as it is remote and anonymous there is less to dissuade perpetrators,

    • Called for the necessity of political will, recognition of the dangers AI poses, and investment in prevention in schools,

    • Acknowledged the need to address 'traditional' bullying forms in order to mitigate cyberbullying, and

    • Recognized the need to find an equilibrium between protecting children and also maintaining their privacy.

  • Santa Rose Mary (15 years old), Child Rights Advocate from Uganda (Video):

    • Addressed multiple parties in her recommendations,

    • Recognized that governments need to consider legislation against all perpetrators of bullying,

    • Suggested that schools integrate digital literacy into their school syllabi,

    • Urged parents to teach their children about the consequences of cyberbullying, and

    • Expressed a yearning for children to feel safe reporting incidents of cyberbullying.

  • Mr. Yony Tsouna, Founder and Co-Director of Matzmichim, the Israeli Violence Reduction Organization:

    • Suggested that the lack of adults on social media is a part of the problem,

    • Expressed that the idea of 'children's island' is being developed without supervision,

    • Urged for an integration of norms instead of full out enforcement, and

    • Recommended a need for social media training for people who work with children.

  • Ms. Deepali Liberhan, Safety Policy Director, Meta (Video):

    • Demonstrated on Meta's partnerships with stakeholders to address this problem, and

    • Insured the council that Meta has a zero tolerance policy: no bullying, harassment, violent content, or hate speech.

Country Alignments:

Due to the collaborative nature of this discussion, there were few divides between member states. Many of the common agreements were:

  • Called for preventative and legislative actions to deal with cyberbullying perpetrators,

  • Asked for clarification on a number of points raised by panelists,

  • Acknowledged the need for responsibility and political will to address the problem, including from dominate online country,

  • Urged for the support of victims and their families, and

  • Deemed the respect for the privacy of individuals to be of considerable importance.

NGOs were given opportunity to provide thoughts and their recommendations echoed that of member states:

  • Advocated for the involvement of children and their parents in the discussion, and

  • Called for the need to raise awareness across every society.

Our Analysis:

Protection of children is a high priority goal within the Human Rights agenda, especially when it comes to sustainable development. The threat posed by the rapid digitalization of the world only exposes children to far more areas where they can find themselves vulnerable to violence. Building secure institutions that aim to maintain the safety of children benefits sustainable development in ensuring that the future generation has a chance to grow with limited trauma to their collective psychological experience. It is important to remember that not all problems can be resolved by simple application of rules and regulations and that it is important for adults to maintain their obligations to their children.

Author: Leilani Heinz

Uploaded: October 19th 2023


Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace