ITU celebrates global Safer Internet Day, 11 February
Focus on keeping today’s ‘digital natives’ safer online
Geneva, 11 February 2014 – ITU is joining with other UN
agencies, NGOs, governments and tech companies around the world today to
celebrate Safer Internet Day, with a special focus on education strategies to
promote greater online safety for children and young people.
Under the theme “Creating a better Internet together”, ITU is championing the
work of its
Child Online Protection initiative, which offers comprehensive sets
Guidelines for Children, for Parents and Teachers, for
Policy Makers, and for the Tech Industry, in all six official UN languages.
Research indicates that around half of all European children have online
access in their bedrooms, and a quarter of 12-to-15-year-olds now own a tablet.
The use of smartphones to send, receive and post photos and videos online is
also rising fast. But experts say children's online safety skills have failed to
rise at the same rate as their adoption of new applications and devices.
Sexting, bullying, unsolicited explicit content (sex and violence) and sexual
approaches from strangers have become routine online dangers modern teenagers
face, yet studies show that adults' knowledge of what young people are doing
online is often vague and complacent.
Research reveals that while 92% of parents say they have established clear
rules for children’s online activity, 34% of children say their parents have
not. And while 85% of parents surveyed said they knew about parental control
software, only 30% had actually installed it.
And even though parents often blithely believe they know enough about the
online world to keep their children safe, a 2012 study by Internet security
specialist McAfee revealed that four-fifths of teenagers say they know how to
hide their online behaviour from parents.
“Generally, restricting children’s Internet access is not the answer: one
reason children don't tell parents about abuse is that the typical reaction of
parents is to cut off the child’s Internet connection. This can have the
counter-productive effect of making children even more secretive about their
online activities,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré.
Instead, ITU advocates better education in online safety for parents,
teachers, and pupils, starting as young as 5 years old. To that end, today the
organization is running workshop sessions to help parents understand the risks
and learn about tools that can help them keep their children safer, followed by
workshops for children aged 10-14 from the local Geneva area, in partnership
with NGOs Action Innocence and ISC2. During the course of the year ahead ITU also
has plans to collaborate with sister agency UNICEF and tech industry partners
such as Skype in the Classroom to develop educational lessons for children
View and embed ITU’s Safer Internet Day 2014 graphic Where’s Shady?:
Watch a video message from ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré:
Read ITU COP Coordinator Carla Licciardello’s SID2014 blog:
Visit the COP homepage:
For more information, contact:
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
ITU COP Coordinator
About Safer Internet Day
Launched in 2004 by the European Commission’s
INSAFE initiative –
a network of 30 countries including EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway and
Russia – the day quickly gained momentum internationally and now involves many
countries worldwide, not just within the European region.