Cybersecurity/Trust | ICT4SDG | SDG4 | Youth
February 5, 2019

Let’s work together to build a safer internet for children

By Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau

As a mother, I want my children to benefit from today’s digital revolution. But I also want to protect them from risks they face online.

As the Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), I have the privilege and responsibility to contribute to build a better internet for all children.

Safer Internet Day 2019, observed on 5 February, is the day when governments, companies, civil society and international organizations come together to show their actions in promoting a safer and more responsible use of digital technologies especially amongst children and young people across the world.

Safer Internet Day is not just on 5 February, but every day. Every day we work to protect young people and children online.

The theme of this year’s Safer Internet Day – “Together for better internet” – is all about collaboration and partnership.

I believe that we all have to work together not only to bring more people online, but also to discuss, identify and implement solutions towards building a universally available, open, secure and trustworthy Internet.

Protecting children and young adults from online risks is a global challenge, which requires a global approach.

In my discussions with key stakeholders, including parents, the issue of online safety regularly comes up as one that we need to collectively put our efforts into, working together for maximum impact.

RELATED – Children’s online safety: Key findings from recent research.

ITU data shows that over 70 per cent of the world’s youth are online. In developed countries, 94% of young people aged 15-24 use the Internet while in developing countries the number stands at 67%. These numbers illustrate that, today young people are the most dynamic users of technologies. It is therefore paramount that we all work together to ensure a better Internet for our children and future generations.

Now in its second decade, the ITU Child Online Protection (COP) Initiative is a multi-stakeholder effort that brings together partners from all sectors of the global community to create a safe and empowering online experience for children around the world.

Through our Regional Offices, ITU is bringing the spirit of Safer Internet Day to the regional and national levels with a series of new initiatives to bring different stakeholders on board – and build on past success:

  • The Africa Regional office will contribute to the sub-regional workshop on Child Online Protection in Cameroon;
  • The cyberdrill organized by the Americas Regional Officeincludes sessions to raise awareness of the responsible use of ICTs and Child Online protection;
  • The Arab States Regional office will continue its efforts to ensure optimal coordination and collaboration among the relevant stakeholders in the Arab region and to share best practices to be replicated in the Arab countries;
  • The Asia-Pacific Regional office is planning to organize a series of national workshops over the next weeks that will culminate with the organization of the Regional Forum on Child Online Protection in collaboration with UNICEF;
  • The Europe Regional office is co-organizing a national workshop to implement the Child Online Protection guidelines and is hosting Safer Internet Day 2019 workshops for children “Young Advisers for Online Safety” on 5 February 2019 in Tirana, Albania followed by a round table on “Sectoral engagement in the field of Online Safety” on 6 February 2019.
  • The CIS Regional office continues to update and promote a multimedia training course on Child Online Protection developed within the ITU Regional Initiatives.

I invite you to read Guidelines for Child Online Protection, prepared by ITU in collaboration with COP partners, in order to establish the necessary foundation for a safer and more secure cyber world for future generations

We all need to play our part in creating a better internet for everyone, and especially for our children and future generations.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin is the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau and Mother of 4.
  • Was this article Helpful ?
  • yes   no
© International Telecommunication Union 1865-2018 All Rights Reserved.
ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

Let’s work together to build a safer internet for children

Send this to a friend