To mark the 21st Safer Internet Day and in line with our purpose, “As a trusted partner, Orange gives everyone the keys to a responsible digital world”, we are strengthening our long-standing commitment to protect young people from the inherent dangers of digital: cyberbullying, online hate, and screen addiction. Our actions form a new initiative: For Good Connections.
Screen addiction and cyberbullying: a growing social phenomenon
Mobile phones and internet connectivity are now part and parcel of children’s lives from an early age. With unlimited access to multiple screens, adults and children can spend more than 7 hours a day on them.
The digital world is an undeniable source of progress, education, entertainment, and social connection but it wasn’t designed for children and is not without risks.
Excessive screen time leads to numerous health problems such as addiction, isolation, insomnia, and weight gain and yet young people are spending ever more time online and less time enjoying more balanced activities. Children may also be exposed to inappropriate online content, abuse, and harassment.
One in three children worldwide are now affected, according to Philip Jaffé, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. In France, 60% of young people have fallen victim to these types of abuse.
The impacts are serious and it’s time to fight them!
What Orange is doing to fight abusive content
To limit young people’s exposure to inappropriate or hateful content and protect them from the risks of screen addiction and cyberbullying, we various systems in place to protect and support parents and children.
We contributed to the deployment of the 3018 app in France and its equivalent in European countries. 3018 is the official free and confidential short number to report cyberbullying and receive psychological support, technical solutions, and legal assistance.
Parental controls block inappropriate content and restrict screen time according to the child’s age. These protective devices are gradually being integrated into offers and services that can be accessed by children in the home, such as mobile phones, TV, and computers.
Les Safe Zones
Younger generations spend a considerable amount of time gaming, which is why we have deployed a range of tools to protect them from cyberbullying on various major platforms. Safe Zones have been integrated directly into the gameplay, offering a series of questions and answers that address the risks associated with immersive technologies in a playful way. A second feature enables victims or witnesses to alert a helpdesk and access support.
We have developed a framework that applies to our product design and advertising to advise consumers on the safe and responsible use of our products and services by children. We also comply with the age limits and regulations in force within our operating countries and do not target children under the age of 9. We offer protection tools for parents wanting to give a child their personal mobile phone.
We also encourage people to talk to someone they trust, in collaboration with children’s charities and associations. Our local roots in different geographies have enabled us to develop specific partnerships in each country over several years, for example with e-Enfance and Internet Sans Crainte in France, WeTechCare and 123Digit in Belgium, and the Empowering Children Foundation in Poland.
In Belgium, France, Moldova, Poland, and Romania, we offer a range of online explanations, advice, and dedicated child safety content.
We organize digital workshops in our Orange stores and in schools for parents and children, to raise their awareness of the risks of cyberbullying and learn how to use digital tools appropriately. From giving a child their first mobile phone to introducing them to social media, discovering parental control services, and a handy screen-time guide, there are lots of ways we help parents avoid falling into the traps. We also provide dedicated educational resources to address these topics in the classroom, in particular Digitaliada in Romania and EducaInternet in Spain.
Awareness campaigns have been carried out in France with our partners from rugby and football federations. 103,000 children in football clubs and 34,000 in rugby clubs have been made aware of safer internet use.
Throughout our history, we have always been committed to the inclusion, well-being, safety, and non-discrimination of children around the world. We have continued to strengthen our actions by listening to stakeholders, for example through a “childhood and digital” survey conducted in France, where 1,200 respondents shared their experiences and expectations, among them parents, associations, and experts. This has led to a new Orange policy published by the Group on children’s rights and protection in the digital age, which reflects our long-term commitment to transparency and engagement.
Today’s children build tomorrow’s society.
We believe it is our responsibility to help young people build a safer digital world – a commitment that we will continue to support with all our stakeholders.