In today’s world of convergence media, the lines between different parts of the information and communication technology (ICT) industry are becoming blurred, presenting a new array of challenges in protecting children in cyberspace. Industry cooperation and partnership are more necessary than ever in building a safe and empowering cyber infrastructure for future generations.
ITU is working closely with UNICEF and industry partners on several fronts to strengthen industry participation in advancing children’s rights online.
What does it mean for business to respect and support children’s rights in the digital space? As part of the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative, ITU has put together the Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection to provide a common framework for all sectors of the industry in working towards a safer cyber world for children. The guidelines include specific recommendations that could be implemented by all sectors of the industry to promote children’s safety online (for example, developing codes of conduct and technical standards that enhance interoperability). ITU is currently collaborating with its partners to update the guidelines to reflect the changing media landscape, such as the importance of social media in young people’s lives.
The latest development on the Guardian Sustainable Business hub is another great example of industry participation in promoting children’s rights in ICT. A collaborative initiative with UNICEF, the Guardian partner’s zone Children: The next business agenda is dedicated to the impact of the digital age on children and how companies can work together to promote positive change for children in ICT. The hub features perspectives and opinion from business and sustainability leaders in the sector, journalists, children and UNICEF staff.
Recently, ITU has also welcomed new industry partners to its COP initiative. For example, The Walt Disney Company is one of the partners taking the lead on designing and delivering training for young people on online safety at the Global Youth Summit: BYND2015. The Summit, organized by ITU, will bring together young people from around the globe with a view to highlighting their priorities in crucial national and international decision making processes. Also, in close partnership with UNICEF, a special session Be Smart, Be Safe at BYND2015 will be dedicated to fun and engaging activities aimed at raising awareness among youth about online safety.
The range of new partners coming on board the COP initiative reflects the rapid and complex changes happening around the digital ecosystem. No one sector of the industry can tackle the problem of cybersecurity for children alone. ITU is calling upon all sectors of the industry to work together toward protecting and realizing the rights of children as declared in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. To learn more about the COP initiative and get involved, visit www.itu.int/cop.
Ashley Lee is a Project Officer with the Corporate Strategy Division at ITU. Her work explores the intersections of digital media, learning, and youth policy. You can follow her on Twitter @ashley_itu