Access to information and communication technology (ICT) provides young people with new opportunities for self-development, education and creativity. ITU estimates that six out of 10 children between three and 17 years old, use the Internet at home (2013). Moreover, 30 per cent of the world’s youth are digital natives, having been online for five years or more (2013).
However, an increased use of ICTs also brings new risks. For instance, an estimated 5.43 million young people in the UK have experienced cyberbullying and a new report by Common Sense Media indicates that 50 per cent of teenagers aged 12 – 18 in the US feel addicted to technology.
International Community’s Response
As ICT skills become more and more necessary for young people, helping them to find jobs and business opportunities, we need to address this issue.
Since 2005, ITU has worked with its Membership to protect children online through the World Summit on the Information Society. More recently, the international community recognized the need for access to, and the safe use of, technology through the Sustainable Development Goals – notably targets 9.c and 17.6.
Child Helpline International Foundation (CHI) is a global network of 183 members across 142 countries (December 2015) that works to protect these vulnerable members of society. Collectively, they receive over 14 million interactions from children and young people a year.
ITU and CHI will work together at a global and regional label to identify existing technological solutions to protect children online. The partnership will also promote innovative application to make it easier for children to communicate with child online protection helplines.
Today, ITU and CHI launched the “Partnering to Protect Children and Youth” Campaign to recognize the efforts of ITU Members that are actively mobilizing their commitment towards achieving a safer and secure online environment for children. It will showcase ITU Member’s role in strengthening in-country helplines, foster collaboration and focus on issues including online threats against children. Successful examples will be shown at Telecom World 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.
MORE FROM ITU: To participate in the inaugural Child Online Safety Campaign, ITU and CHI Members are invited to click here.
Carla Licciardello is the Child Online Protection Focal Point of the International Telecommunication Union, based in Geneva. She is primarily responsible of 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 ITU, 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 to Member States victims of natural disasters.