It was founded in Geneva in 1999 by Valérie Wertheimer following a trip to Thailand in 1997, when she came face to face with a burgeoning new business facilitated by the birth of the Internet : tourists booking holidays online in order to feed their perversions by performing sex acts on children.
In its early days, Action Innocence sought to draw attention to the emerging adverse effects of the Internet and speak out against this new trend in paedophile crime. Up until 2018, the Association ran a programme known as AntiPedoFiles, developing tracking software and making it available free of charge to police forces, thus contributing to the arrest of thousands of users of child pornography.
Another of the Foundation’s earliest initiatives was to develop a prevention programme targeting children, informing them of various risks surrounding the Internet : coming across disturbing and/or illegal images ; the disclosure of personal data ; meeting the wrong kind of people ; sexting ; cyber-bullying, Internet addiction, and so on.
The programme has gradually expanded. In addition to children, it now addresses teenagers, special needs groups, parents, and professionals from the fields of education, health care, and social services.
Alongside this grassroots work, Action Innocence runs extensive prevention campaigns in the media to raise public awareness.
More recently, the Foundation has decided to tackle premature exposure of children to screens. A large number of professionals, including paediatricians, child psychiatrists, psychometricians, and child care workers have observed young children behaving in ways that are causing concern, including delayed speech development, difficulty relating to other children, attention span deficit, poor fine motor skills, and a lack of interest in traditional games. Action Innocence is already working with a number of experts to consider fresh initiatives as part of its new programme, Grandir avec les écrans (Growing up with screens).
Protecting the integrity and dignity of children, teenagers, and special needs individuals as they use screens and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
- Promoting a healthy, moderate use of screens
- Promoting the safe, individually responsible, and socially responsible use of ICT.