At the mere touch of a button, the younger generation can call up the entire history of humanity, explore every corner of our planet, experience scientific discovery in all its various forms and communicate with anyone they want to, anywhere, irrespective of their race, age or nationality.
Digital technology brings the wider world right into our homes and schools.
Children, with their innocent curiosity, should be able to explore this Internet world without the risk of being abused or molested.
The sole restriction that should be imposed on the Internet is the one that arises from our own sense of responsibility. If we want to protect children effectively, we need a universal, responsible alliance of governments, enterprises and civil society organizations.
The need to improve online safety for the world’s children is one area about which there is no doubt.
Hence, the new phase of concrete activities, which ITU announced for the Global Child Online Protection initiative in November 2010 in San José, Costa Rica, aims to identify the risks of cyberspace for the world’s children, improve awareness of them, facilitate exchanges of experience, and design effective protection tools.
To complement these preventive measures, work is going ahead on a draft law amending the Penal Code with a view to protecting children from violence and abuse involving information and communication technologies.
Efforts to protect children online at a purely national level cannot hope to achieve real success.
Global support can help the development of local and international associations, and encourage creative and effective solutions.
ITU invites private sector, civil society and international organizations to join the COP initiative and establish partnerships to maximize and synergize efforts in this important area.
Important events such as the African Child Online Protection (ACOP) Summit and the Global Youth Summit will be organized during 2013 to lay foundations for the implementation of national, regional and international COP policies, instruments and tools.
The Internet, and the technologies that enable us to use it, give us the opportunity to advance together towards a world that is more open, inclusive, free and democratic. But that very freedom and openness will require greater responsibility from all of us.
That is why we must work to make the Internet a world in which children will be able to pursue their dreams in an environment that is protected and safe.
For those readers interested in getting involved with initiatives and wanting to contribute to the improved protection of children online, please feel free to post comments below this post, regarding programs you are doing in your country as well as what emerging trends related to Child Online Protection ITU should be aware of.