UNICEF: More than 175,000 children go online for the first time every day
More than 175,000 children go online for the first time every day
On Safer Internet Day, UNICEF calls for urgent action to protect children and their digital footprint
NEW YORK/BISHKEK, 6 February 2018 – More than 175,000 children go online for the first time every day – a new child every half second – UNICEF said today on the eve of Safer Internet Day, observed globally on 7 February. Digital access exposes these children to a wealth of opportunities, but also to a host of risks, including access to harmful content, cyberbullying, and misuse of their private information.
"Every day, thousands of children are going online for the first time, which opens them up to a flood of dangers we are just coming to appreciate, let alone address,” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy. “While governments and the private sector have made some progress in formulating policies to eliminate the most egregious online risks, more effort must be made to fully understand and protect children’s online lives.”
In Kyrgyzstan, 60 percent of adolescents are confident with their own ability to stay safe while using the internet according to the M-report survey conducted by the National Institute for Strategic Studies and UNICEF last year. Still given all the risks, there is an urgent need to better protect children’s and adolescents’ online lives and increase their access to safe ad quality online content.
“In Kyrgyzstan, UNICEF has been supporting the Government in developing capacity of teachers, law enforcement professionals and parents on online safety,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan. “UNICEF is calling for cooperation among government, civil society, and, most significantly, the private sector to put children at the center of digital policy,” she added.
UNICEF suggests the below five actions to put children at the center of digital policy by:
1. Coordinating national response. We must deepen collaboration between policy makers, law enforcement and the technology industry to embed principles of safety and to work together to find solutions to keep pace with digital technology that can enable and conceal illegal trafficking and other online child sexual abuse.
2. Safeguarding children’s privacy. We need a much greater commitment by the private sector and government to protect and not misuse children’s data and to respect its encryption; the full application of international standards in collecting and using data about children online; and to teach children how to protect themselves from threats to their own privacy.
3. Empowering children online through more equitable access and digital literacy. Children must be taught how to keep themselves informed, engaged and safe online, including through greater collaboration between governments and technologists to develop ICT platforms and curricula from primary school through high school; supporting online libraries and expanding the capacity of public libraries to teach digital skills; investing in teacher training in digital technology; teaching children how to recognize and protect themselves from online dangers and misinformation; and making digital citizenship a core component of digital literacy instruction.
4. Leveraging the unique role of the private sector. There is an urgent need for the establishment and enforcement of industry wide ethical standards on data and privacy that protect and benefit children online, including ethical product development and marketing that mitigates risks to children.
5. Investing in better evidence about access, opportunities and risks for children online. We need better evidence about children’s access and activities online, so we can leverage this evidence for regulatory frameworks and policies that recognize the distinct needs and rights of children; strengthen coordination and knowledge sharing at the global level to address the challenges of a digital world; deepen collaboration with children’s organizations; and engage more systematically with policymakers and lawmakers.
“As younger and younger children join the Internet, the need to have a serious discussion about how to keep them safe online and secure their digital footprint becomes increasingly urgent,” said Yukie Mokuo.
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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 in Kyrgyzstan visit: https://www.unicef.org/kyrgyzstan and follow us on Facebook, Instagram и Twitter .
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