Protecting children in cyberspace
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day marks the founding of the
International Telecommunication Union on 17 May 1865, and commemorates its role
in connecting the world.
Over the past two decades, the Internet has been transformed into an
unmatched global resource that spans the worlds of knowledge and entertainment.
Now with more than 600 million users in Asia, 130 million in Latin America and
the Caribbean, and 50 million in Africa, it is an ever-expanding means of
communication. It lies at the fulcrum of our increasingly interconnected and
networked societies, driving the world’s economies, fostering trade and commerce
and promoting better health care, food production and education. With these
tremendous strides, safeguarding the Internet’s vital systems and
infrastructures against attack by cybercriminals has taken on great importance.
The theme of this year’s observance is "Protecting Children in Cyberspace”.
Children and young people are among the most prolific users of the Internet and
mobile devices. As they surf through cyberspace seeking information and
entertainment and building social networks, they are also among the most
vulnerable to exploitation. Without safeguards, their precious lives are at
grave risk in the vicious world of cybercriminals and paedophiles that prey on
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the right
to education and access to information, as well as the right to engage in play
and recreational activities. The Convention also accords the child protection
against all forms of exploitation and inducement to engage in any unlawful
activity. It is our duty to ensure that the provisions of the Convention are
applied rigorously so that children can safely access the Internet and other
online resources without fear of falling prey to unscrupulous predators.
The virtual world has exciting possibilities for nurturing children and
helping them grow into creative, productive adults. But we must mind the
pitfalls that could scar them for life. I urge policy makers and industry
leaders to find the means to make the rapidly evolving virtual world safe for