Rome's Gregorian University holds World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World

The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome hosted the "World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World" from October 3 to 6, 2017.

One of the keynote speakers was Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The Cardinal spoke about "The Holy See and Its Commitment to Combatting Sex Abuse Online" last October 3. (Read the full text of Cardinal Parolin's address here.)

He said that child safety is one of the most urgent issues of modern times, and stressed that children on the global “peripheries” shouldn't be forgotten. The cardinal said that thousands of children are now growing up in the digital world in vastly underdeveloped nations, and that we are also responsible for the protection of these children. He noted that minors from these peripheries are the preferred object of global networks of exploitation and organized violence online.

This pioneering congress hosted by the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome set a milestone in the international fight against digital sexual child abuse. The invitation-only congress brought together distinguished academic experts, business leaders, leaders of civil society, high-level politicians and religious representatives from across the globe. The congress hoped to provide a historic opportunity to set the global agenda for the fight against online sexual child abuse, and for child protection in the digital world.

It was put together by a UK-based global alliance called ‘WePROTECT’ and by ‘Telefono Azzurro’, the first Italian helpline for children at risk.  The goal of the congress was to come up with a joint action plan which was presented to Pope Francis during a papal audience last October 6,  the end of the four-day-international encounter.