Flow, UNICEF partner for Safer Internet Day
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (February 9th, 2022) -- More than 290 regional educators and guidance counsellors are now better equipped to identify and deal with online threats facing adolescents and young adults.
In observing Safer Internet Day on February 8, leading telecoms provider Flow partnered with UNICEF to present a virtual conference entitled ‘Online Safely: What to Lookout For’.
“Making the internet a safe place for all of its users is of paramount priority for us as the leading service provider in the Caribbean,” said Greg Morris, Technical Expert, Flow Barbados.
This year’s theme for Safer Internet Day is ‘Together for a better internet’ and it aims to make the internet a safer and better place for all, with an increased focus on children and young people.
“The internet, and indeed the provision of connectivity, is now a fundamental part of our daily lives, and while there are several benefits to be had, there are also some unwanted elements in the online world. Sometimes, these unwanted elements can be minimised altogether.”
Morris provided the forum with specific guidance and best practices as it relates to young people using social media, online gaming, and mobile apps.
“You do not necessarily have to know the ins and outs of an app or website. Instead focus on the features that it should be offering such as age verification, content filtering and restricted online communication with others,” he said.
“While many apps and games are created specifically with children in mind it also creates a platform for predators to prey on young people, so we need to be aware and utilise all the tools that are available to us.”
Dr. Nicole Lynch, counselling psychologist and consultant to UNICEF, reinforced to her regional counterparts some of the behaviours that may be associated with children who are experiencing challenges in the online world.
“Engagement is key, and the relationships we establish with our young people in the real world need to be built on trust, so they can be more comfortable in sharing their experiences in online world with us,” she said.
“We also need accountability and transparency, and that includes us as educators and counsellors, but above all else we need the buy-in of the entire community in safeguarding our young people while they are spending time online.”
According to Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, UNICEF’s Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Area: “It has been such a pleasure to bring the comparative advantages of UNICEF and Flow to work together for a safer internet. Today we’ve explored all-important practical strategies to help professionals protect young people. There has been a very rich and healthy exchange of ideas.”
In observing Safer Internet Day, Flow has previously engaged the Barbados National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations, the Barbados Union of Teachers, the Barbados Association of Retired Persons, media practitioners and the students of Welches Primary, one of the company’s adopted schools, with similar initiatives.
“We are focusing our educational efforts on internet security across three pillars – cyberbullying, online security, and social engineering – taking into consideration the increasing prevalence of online fraud,” aid Felipe Ruiz Rivillas, Vice President, Information Security, Liberty Latin America, the parent company of Flow and Flow Business.
“We know education is critical, so we are deploying an extensive campaign across our region to raise awareness of key issues surrounding online security. Safer Internet Day provides an important focus from the global community, but we are committed to sharing valuable information and insights year-round.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.