UNICEF and partners to develop legal and policy framework to strengthen resilience and protection of children from cyber-enabled crime and online harm

With funding from UK Government, UNICEF launches a programme to build the capacity of adolescents, parents and teachers in online safety.

09 February 2024
UNICEF and partners to develop legal and policy framework to strengthen resilience and protection of children from cyber-enabled crime and online harm
UNICEF Armenia/2024/Galstyan

YEREVAN, 9 February – Marking Safe Internet Day, UNICEF was joined by partners, adolescents and young people at Echmiadzin open youth house to present its work on strengthening the resilience and protection of children in Armenia from organized cyber-enabled crime and online harm.  The young participants discussed cyber safety and security literacy with UNICEF Representative in Armenia Mrs Christine Weigand, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mr John Gallagher, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Ms Arpine Sargsyan and First Deputy Minister of High-Tech Industry Mr Gevorg Mantashyan.

Within the framework of this new initiative, UNICEF will work with partners to support the Government of Armenia to develop legislation, policies, and standards to protect children from online risks and harms. UNICEF will also address the need to enhance the capacities of law enforcement and child protection professionals, and empower children and adolescents, parents and teachers to better protect children from online risks and harms.

“In a world where 71% of 15 to 24-year-olds are using the Internet, it becomes of outstanding importance that every person, especially adolescents and young people, have the capabilities to make the most of digital opportunities and of the internet. Experts agree that children in Armenia are exposed to online threats more often, than it is reported. At the same time, not all children have access to information about online safety,” noted Mrs Weigand. “As we mark the 30th anniversary of UNICEF in Armenia this year, we hope that through this new programme and together with all partners from adolescents to the Armenian and British Governments, we will make a lasting impact for children in Armenia.”

In 2023, with financial support from the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, UNICEF analyzed Armenia’s legislation and policy framework on the protection of children in the digital environment, as well as the risks and opportunities. While there is still a need to get more in-depth data on particular risks that children face online, such as online sexual exploitation and abuse, the existing evidence already enables policymakers to explore solutions for children to use digital opportunities more equally and safely. children.

With funding from UK Government, UNICEF launches a programme to build the capacity of adolescents, parents and teachers in online safety.
UNICEF Armenia/2024/Galstyan

“As we mark Safe Internet Day, we are proud to support this project, helping UNICEF to address the implications of cyber-enabled crime impacting children. In the increasingly tech-dependent world, this generation of children spend more time online than previous generations. The internet has shaped children’s lives profoundly, informing the way they think, learn, behave, and purchase. While this offers a range of opportunities for children, increased use of the internet also exposes them to various online risks” said Ambassador Gallagher. “In order to have an effective system to protect children online, we need to make sure that legislative frameworks and law enforcement capacity, as well as awareness raising measures among children are part of that package. Pleased to see that our project today includes a wide variety of participants not only from the Government, but also civil society, teachers, and crucially children themselves.”

Besides joint work on the policy framework, UNICEF will also contribute to increased collaboration between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and INTERPOL given the transnational nature of organised crime against children.

With funding from UK Government, UNICEF launches a programme to build the capacity of adolescents, parents and teachers in online safety.
UNICEF Armenia/2024/Galstyan

“While the world, including Armenia, is consistently making steps towards ensuring a safe environment online for children, there is still a lot that needs to be tackled to develop solutions specific to children and their engagement. As technologies evolve very fast, the opportunity to benefit from the online world and the potential risks that it imposes also evolve. We need to all work together, each from our perspective, to move forward and mitigate the relevant risks. At the moment, the Ministry is in the process of restructuring its division on combating cyber-crime, and we look forward to working with all partners, as well as engage children in thematic discussions to adapt online behaviors with the strategic vision we hold for a safe digital environment for them,” informed Ms Sargsyan.

UNICEF will work with the Ministry of High-Tech Industry to not only propose and develop solutions to eliminate online harm, but also make sure that it is aligned with the existing strategies and roadmaps in the wider context of digital development and cyber security. “The present generation is adept at developing and using various technologies but with this come big risks, such as mis- or disinformation, which can have implications for the wider society. We are already working on draft legislation on cyber security and crime. Within that context, it is our job to work with members of the society who are most vulnerable to this and devise ways to ensure their safety. The younger generation is often more media literate so we also hope that they will take on the calling to support the older generations to overcome barriers,” said Mr Mantashyan.

Participants heard from CoMedia start-up, established by young people with the support of UNICEF, who presented their media literacy board game through which children and young people can learn more about common mistakes or misconceptions online. Through the programme, UNICEF will work with adolescents and young people to empower the development of youth-led solutions and support them in learning more about safety online and being the advocates of online safety with their parents and families.

Together with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, UNICEF will work to develop the capacity of social services in responding to cases of online crimes involving children and delivering responses with a victim-centred approach for child victims. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, UNICEF will also enhance the skills and knowledge of teachers to prevent online risks for children.

 

Media contacts

Zara Sargsyan
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Armenia
Tel: 37477232169
Tel: 37410580174

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