We have been working with UNICEF since 2015 to implement and advocate for the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, a 10-point charter that details how companies can respect and support children’s rights and create environments that safeguard children and support their wellbeing. Together we UNICEF, we introduced an industry-first Digital Child Safety Policy to secure the safety and welfare of children interacting with LEGO digital products. And we co-created the ‘Child Online Safety Assessment’ tool (COSA) so other companies can understand and address children’s rights online.
A Child Safeguarding Policy was developed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children engaged directly by LEGO® employees and partners. That meant background screening for employees with high child engagement, and contractual obligation for suppliers and partners who engage with children.
We also worked together to inform UNICEF’s child safeguarding toolkit, a guidance on how to identify and mitigate actual and potential safeguarding risks. It outlines procedures for setting up a child safeguarding policy, rolling out the implementation plan and addressing and reporting potential allegations of inappropriate behavior towards children.
COSA was created with inputs from a wide range of ICT companies and NGOs specializing in child rights in the ICT sector, plus independent Human Rights consultants, academics and media experts. The tool offers companies the chance to:
• Understand the issues of child rights and the Internet
• Offer simple self-assessment
• Uncover strengths and weaknesses in policy and practice
• And build corrective plans
The Child Online Safety Assessment (COSA) takes the form of an Excel-format tool that’s available here
The LEGO Group is dedicated to providing the best play experiences for children, and this naturally extends to safe online experiences. We were the first toy company to partner with UNICEF and we’re committed to promoting and implementing the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.
As part of our partnership, we developed the Child Online Safety Assessment tool (COSA) to review our operations. This is now available to other companies to assess how children’s rights can be integrated into their online operations and strengthen their child protection policies, codes of conduct and due diligence.
Digital engagement became more important than ever for children during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted risks like cyberbullying, mental health issues, and data privacy.
The LEGO Group and UNICEF USA co-hosted a virtual discussion on Elevating Children’s Online Rights During Times of Uncertainty, with representatives from academia, education, government, civil society and business.
The key focus was how technology, and additional time online, is impacting children’s lives, rights, and broader wellbeing. And how organizations can improve their understanding and develop new products and services in children’s best interests.
This event confirmed that there is already a lot being done by the private sector, government, educators and civil society to address the challenges. But there is also opportunity to seize the moment and position children, and the relationship they have with technology, in the spotlight.
More research is necessary, so UNICEF USA has formally endorsed the CAMRA Act, a bipartisan bill that provides funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to perform more research on these issues.
The LEGO Group, Microsoft, Common Sense Media, the National Parent Teacher Association and many others endorsed the CAMRA Act when it was introduced, and we encourage everyone to join us in protecting and supporting children’s rights online during COVID-19 and beyond.