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