the European Commission have joined forces to mark Safer Internet Day. This
year, the focus is on protecting children online.
Children are among the most active — and most vulnerable — participants
online. According to recent surveys, over 60 per cent of children and teenagers
talk in chat rooms on a daily basis. Three in four children online are willing
to share personal information about themselves and their family in exchange for
goods and services. One in five children will be targeted by a predator or
paedophile each year. Protecting children in cyberspace is, therefore, clearly
"Children are very resourceful in making the most of online services such as
social networking sites and mobile phones," said Viviane Reding, European
Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "But many still underestimate
the hidden risks of using these, from cyber-bullying to sexual grooming online.
Today, I call upon all decision-makers, from both the public and the private
sector, to listen and learn from children and to improve awareness strategies
and tools to protect minors." Ms Reding added: "The Internet binds the whole
world together. The safety of children who use it is a concern for everyone. I
am therefore very happy that ITU is associated with us in doing this, today on
Safer Internet Day, and all year round."
"Child online safety must be on the global agenda," said ITU
Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré. "We must ensure that everyone is aware of the
dangers for children online. And we want to promote and strengthen the many
outstanding efforts that are being made around the world, such as the Safer
Internet Programme, to limit these dangers."
This year, the 6th edition of Safer Internet Day includes more
than 500 events in 50 countries worldwide. ITU and the European Commission will
collaborate on this and future events, such as World Telecommunication and
Information Society Day, 17 May 2009, which is dedicated to "Protecting Children
in Cyberspace". The European Commission’s Directorate General for Information
Society and Media has declared its full support for ITU’s Child Online
Protection (COP) Initiative.
The EC’s Ins@fe Network will launch a which will host
pavilions where visitors can learn more about initiatives undertaken by the 50
participating countries. ITU will host an online pavilion in support of EC’s
efforts to raise awareness among youngsters aged 12 to 17 regarding the risks
they may face online.
ITU and Child Online Protection (COP)
ITU’s motto is "committed to connecting the world", but we are also committed
to connecting the world responsibly. That means working together to ensure
cybersecurity, enable cyberpeace, and — more importantly — protect children
online. While child online protection programmes exist in many developed
countries, there are very few in the developing world today — and very little
coordination between them.
ITU established the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) and launched the Child
Online Protection (COP) initiative. COP aims to bring together partners from all
sectors of the global community to ensure a safe and secure online experience
for children everywhere.
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