Our children are our future. This universal fact, coupled with young people’s particular vulnerability in an online environment necessitates the need to promote safer and more responsible use of the Internet and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) amongst children and young people around the world.
The 10th annual Safer Internet Day -which took place on 5 February 2013 – focused this year’s theme on Online Rights and Responsibilities.
In recognition of Safer Internet Day 2013, ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré spoke of the fundamental role that ICTs have facilitated in driving social and economic progress, as well as opening new frontiers and opportunities for young people to cultivate their inherent creativity, innovation and dynamism in a digital environment.
The Secretary-General also talked passionately about the dramatic changes associated with the proliferation of ICTs, which also potentially brings with it new threats and risks to the safety and security of children – who are the most vulnerable members of society.
Moreover, the President of Costa Rica, H.E. Laura Chinchilla and Child Online Protection (COP) Patron, during her video message, highlighted Costa Rica’s efforts in implementing COP, through the appointment of a National Commission on Cybersecurity.
Under her commitment, Costa Rica has been working hard – jointly with ITU – to create and develop a national model to promote online protection involving not only government, but private sector partners, NGOs, schools, parents and a broad cross section of stakeholders – across Costa Rica.
In addition, Miss Deborah Taylor Tate – ITU COP Special Envoy – also highlighted how COP is empowering children on how to navigate safely and with respect from one and other to achieve their own dreams.
COP aims at building an international security framework for children and young people in relation to online protection and creates an excellent platform, where working together, relevant stakeholders can ensure a harmonized and comprehensive approach and best practices related to online protection of young people.
Finally in September 2013, ITU – under the patronage of H.E. Laura Chinchilla – will be organizing the Global Youth Summit, which will be hosted in Costa Rica.
The Global Youth Summit will provide a global platform to bring youth together to join forces and create solutions for social good, enabled through widespread access to ICTs.
This will be a unique occasion for youth to advocate their online rights and demonstrate how ICTs are empowering them to fulfil their own dreams and careers.
Ms. Carla Licciardello is the Child Online Protection Focal Point of the International Telecommunication Union, based in Geneva. She is primarily responsible for supporting ITU Child Online Protection activities, including projects development with Member States and other international organizations. She is also working on Cybersecurity and supporting related interagency relations. Before joining the ITU, Ms. Licciardello has worked for the Italian Mission in Geneva and the United Nations for Disaster Risk Reduction with a focus on the communication and policy aspect of the humanitarian assistance in favor of Member States that were victims of natural disasters.