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Protecting children in cyberspace

MEDIA ADVISORY
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day – 17 May 2009

Taking on the responsibility of ensuring that children are able to enjoy the Internet safely.

© Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission
Protective measures are extremely critical to ensure that the Internet is child-friendly, and that it promotes, rather than damages, children’s self development.

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 May 2009 – World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2009 aims to ensure that children can safely access the Internet and its valuable resources without falling prey to unscrupulous predators in cyberspace.

The theme this year ‘Protecting children in cyberspace’ recognises the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in enhancing the development of children, but at the same time signals the need to strengthen action to protect children from abuse and defend their rights in the context of ICT.

“The Internet has amazing potential as a learning and communication tool. It is an extraordinary source of information and self-improvement that encourages children to participate and express themselves,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei, Mr Youssouf Oomar.

He added that the Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees children’s rights to access and share information from the media, including the Internet, which will allow them to express themselves and benefit their health and well-being.

There are over 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide, and more than 400 million of them have access to broadband. With over 600 million users in Asia, 130 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 50 million in Africa, the Internet is a growing common resource.

In Malaysia, the number of Internet users is also increasing, fast catching up to that of developed countries.

While the Internet is valuable medium that allows children to explore and develop to their full potential, it also contains hidden threats to the safety and well-being of children. These threats include online gaming and addiction, cyber-bullying, online sexual harassment and exploitation, as well as exploitative marketing.

“Children are the most active users of the Internet, but they are also the most vulnerable. Therefore, protective measures are extremely critical to ensure that the Internet is child-friendly, and that it promotes, rather than damages, children’s self development,” Mr Youssouf reminded.

UNICEF believes that parents and carers are primarily responsible for protecting children in cyberspace, but governments, industry providers, regulatory agencies, schools and the community also share the responsibility to support parents and adults in ensuring child protection.

“UNICEF welcomes the WTISD theme this year, as it provides the opportunity to spotlight children’s safety in cyberspace in order for technology to enhance their childhood. We commend the initiatives around WTISD 2009, particularly the campaign by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to raise awareness about child protection in cyberspace through the print media,” said Mr Youssouf.

“By supporting MCMC in spreading the message that cyberspace threats are not to be ignored, UNICEF hopes that more sectors will be encouraged to take on the responsibility of child safety online,” he concluded.

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NOTE TO EDITORS:

ABOUT World Telecommunication and Information Day
World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.
In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day as well to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the Information Society raised by WSIS. The General Assembly adopted a resolution in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17 May. 
In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. Member States and Sector Members are invited to celebrate the day annually by organizing appropriate national programs with a view to: stimulating reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council; debating the various aspects of the theme with all partners in society; and  formulating a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership. For more information , please visit http://www.itu.int/wtisd/index.html

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Indra Kumari Nadchatram
(603) 2095 9157 • (+6) 013 366 3452
Email: inadchatram@unicef.org

Shiao Eek, Tee
(603) 2095 9154 • (+6) 012 207 0138
Email: setee@unicef.org

Faradiza Zahri
(603) 2095 9154
Email: fzahri@unicef.org

 

 

 

 

WTISD 2009


Protecting children in cyberspace



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