Belgium has partly addressed the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children (BIK) and has incorporated it into public policies both the at federal level, but primarily at the level of the communities. All five pillars are addressed in some way, principally as part of broader policies and various ministries are involved (e.g. Ministry of Youth-Culture-Media). With regard to the pillar of "legislation and law enforcement against child sexual abuse and exploitation", a Royal Decree was issued in November 2016 which allows the Safer Internet Centre (SIC) (Child Focus) to assess images of child sexual abuse received by the hotline, in line with the BIK strategy and European directives. No structural evaluation has taken place in the last three years of policies on BIK-related issues.
Responsibility for policy design is distributed across multiple ministries (more than 6). There is no singly formal coordinating body or entity at national level and, as such, there tends to be a lack of interaction and cooperation between the ministries and other bodies, particularly across the Flemish and French-speaking communities. Within each community, there is more interaction and coordination. At Flemish level, the knowledge centre Mediawijs coordinates BIK-related activities and initiatives. Data on BIK-related issues are regularly collected in Belgium (both quantitative and qualitative) is mostly carried out by universities, research institutions or non-governmental organisations take the initiative to set up a data collection. However, there is no systematic national data collection organised by ministries or a national body.
Policy on BIK-related issues is quite dispersed in Belgium. Actors taking up a leading role are the Safer Internet Centre (Child Focus) and various NGOs/civic society organisations (e.g. Gezinsbond). Actors taking up a complementary role are ministries or departments with BIK responsibility (e.g. Ministry of Youth-Culture-Media), public agencies with BIK responsibility (e.g. Mediawijs), broadcasting companies (VRT) and universities/research centres (e.g. iMinds). Actors taking up a minor role are mobile operators and internet service providers (e.g. Telenet, Belgacom). With regard to Pillar 1 (Stimulating quality content), NGOs are the lead actors. Activities supporting digital/media literacy and stepping up awareness/empowerment are very dispersed, with both the government, SIC and NGOs taking initiatives. There are initiatives for children to be consulted on BIK-related issues. Non-governmental organisations try to integrate youth participation in their activities. At the Flemish level, there is structural youth participation through the "Vlaamse Jeugdraad" [Flemish Youth Council].
Breadth of activities
Breadth of activities outlines progress made in Member States delivering initiatives at the national level. Using the full range of recommendations contained in the BIK strategy, the following tables highlight which actions are supported and whether they have increased, stayed the same or decreased in prominence in the last three years for each of the BIK pillars.