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 Thursday, 17 January 2013
Promoting universal access to digital technologies for all children everywhere, while protecting them from the dangers present in cyberspace, is one of the key challenges of modern times.

As parents and educators, political leaders and responsible adults, we want children to navigate the oceans of information and knowledge, protected by appropriate legislation, by preventive monitoring tools, and by education based on sound values and personal responsibility.

The need to improve online safety for the world’s children is one area about which there is no doubt. Hence, the new phase of concrete activities, which ITU announced for the global Child Online Protection initiative in November 2010 in San José, Costa Rica, aims to identify the risks of cyberspace for the world’s children, improve awareness of them, facilitate exchanges of experience, and design effective protection tools.

In Costa Rica, a solid coalition has been created of governmental agencies, private companies and civil society bodies with experience of child protection. In that context, the National Online Security Commission has been set up to coordinate efforts pertaining to child protection and the Government’s Digital Agenda.

This has led, as part of the Digital Agenda, to the setting up of the National Online Security Programme, under the leadership of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The programme is geared towards prevention, emphasizing the development of institutional and social capacity, and safe empowerment of citizens. Many teachers, students and parents have been given training on online safety and responsible Internet use.

To complement these preventive measures, work is going ahead on a draft law amending the Penal Code with a view to protecting children from violence and abuse involving information and communication technologies.

Costa Rica has set a target of universal access to digital technologies for all students in the country, and the process will also involve efforts to promote their safety and protection online. In these areas, prompt action is needed.

(Source: ITU News Magazine)