Every year, as information and communication technologies (ICTs) become more readily available and widespread, more young people are growing up surrounded by technology. Under 25 year olds account for a little less than half of the world’s population (42.8 per cent) and ITU estimated that they accounted for 45 per cent of global internet users by early 2012.
In 2013, ITU calculated that 30 per cent of the world’s youth were “digital natives” – defined as 15-24 year old with five or more years of experience online. This ‘digital native’ segment represents 5.2 per cent of the global population and by 2018, it will double in the developing world, growing from 22.8 per cent to 53 per cent of young Internet users. Giving young people the tools to remain safe online is imperative if we are to build trust and confidence in the use of ICTs and succeed in creating a robust and innovative Knowledge Society.
ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative brings together partners from a range of sectors to create a safe and empowering online experience for children, and aims to promote international best practices in promoting youth online safety. COP takes a holistic approach developing strategies that span five key areas: legal measures; technical and procedural measures; organizational structures; capacity building; and international cooperation.
On the occasion of Safer Internet Day on 10 February, four COP partners talked to us about how they use ICTs to promote safety online.
Telefónica – Celebrating Safer Internet Day Together
Both ICTs and the Internet are transforming the way we play, communicate, explore, work, shop, and learn. As such, parents should know how to manage the educational challenges young people are facing online. Telefónica is fully committed to the promotion of the responsible use of ICTs by children and teenagers. Throughout the year, we organize workshops for children aged 4 to 14 at the flagship store in Madrid about how to take full advantage of new technologies while promoting responsible access to digital services.
To mark Safer Internet Day, Telefónica has launched activities around the world to promote online safety to their customers including a social media campaign and talks on online safety at their retail stores. In Nicaragua, Telefónica will participate in the working group for the Safe Use of the Internet within the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, which is attached to the Vice Presidency of the Republic of Nicaragua, together with the Ministry of Education, Virtual Tec University and CONICYT (National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research).
Microsoft – ‘Do 1 (More) Thing’ to Stay Safe Online
Microsoft remains committed to doing its part to help grow and shape a better and safer Internet for youth and, indeed, everyone. Microsoft’s goal is to help educate, engage and inspire people to better protect themselves and others online.
To commemorate Safer Internet Day, Microsoft are re-launching their successful online campaign, asking people around the world to #Do1Thing to stay safe and secure online. The hope is that each person’s ‘1 (more) thing’ will become a long-lasting best practice that will be shared with others and, in turn, lead to an ever-increasing number of safer online behaviors. Last year, some of the most popular ‘1 thing’ pledges included positive practices such as always using a four-digit PIN (personal identification number) to lock mobile devices; promises to convert to and use “strong” passwords for all devices and accounts and trying to refrain from constant phone-checking and instead “be present” in personal interactions.
In addition, this year Microsoft are launching new interactive resources for young people on the Microsoft YouthSpark Hub to further encourage safer online habits and practices. From there, youth can explore comic strips, respond to polls and quizzes, and learn interesting facts and figures.
iKeepSafe – A Positive Framework for K-12 Students
iKeepSafe’s mission is to give parents, educators, and policymakers the necessary information and tools to empower them to teach children how to use the Internet and ICTs safely. They have developed a framework to address what research and leading experts have identified as the known online risks for school children from Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) – online pitfalls like cyberbullying, oversharing, plagiarism and others can all too easily derail young people and jeopardize future success.
iKeepSafe empowers educators and parents around the world to help younger generations thrive in the digital age by providing a K-12 curriculum based on the BEaPRO™ (Balance, Ethics, Privacy, Relationships, Reputation, Online security) programme. The ‘ethics’ curriculum for K-6 lesson plans launched in August 2014 has been downloaded by more than 900 schools, potentially reaching one million students. This year, iKeepSafe plans to continue developing curricula for each of the other pillars, as well as focus on its new privacy initiates.
Together against Cybercrime – Empowering Vulnerable Youth Online
Very frequently, vulnerable people are absent from discussions around the Information Society, often due to the lack of projects and initiatives developed specifically for them. This needs to change. We need to develop strategies to protect vulnerable children online, which will allow young people, their parents and professionals to receive appropriate information on the risks and responsibilities of being online in a convenient format.
It is crucial that the implementation of this strategy is done in a multi-stakeholder format; the absence of one of the mentioned actors from the implementation can have serious consequences. To develop appropriate educational and work methodologies for youth, it is essential to develop a research base on the use of ICTs and the Internet to identify existing challenges and analyze future needs. Such a research base will help to create appropriate national strategy development agendas on the protection of young people online and propose guidelines for better implementation of the developed ITU COP Framework at the national level.
It was this idea that led to the partnership between Together against Cybercrime International (TaC) and the University of Strasbourg, resulting in a sociological research survey on the use of ICTs by vulnerable young people. A research framework on the use of ICTs by vulnerable young people has been developed from the outcomes of this survey, and is available for implementation and use in all interested countries.
This blog was a collaborative effort with contributions from Maria Jose Cantarino De Frias (Telefonia), Jacqueline Beauchere (Microsoft Corp.), Emily Ensign (iKeepSafe) and Yuliya Morenets (Together against Cybercrime, TaC).