good parent knows, children are among the most resilient forces in the universe.
They can have the measles, mumps, chicken pox or whooping cough - and still be
running around the next week as if nothing happened. They can fall on their
heads and require no more than a cuddle. Every day, they encounter something new
So why do we need to protect them?
Because besides being resilient, children are also trusting and naive. Which
is wonderful - thank goodness! But it means that they are vulnerable to people
out there who don't necessarily have the best at heart for our children. Who
would take advantage of them? Who would hurt them? That was one of the reasons
why I founded World Childhood Foundation in 1999 - a Foundation dedicated to
preventing the abuse and exploitation of children.
It is also why I find it a great honour and a privilege to have been asked to
be the patron of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2009.
The digital age offers great promise: of learning, of sharing, of connecting
with each other around the world. But it also presents dangers that are all too
real. Dangers which - because of the technology of the Internet - are not limited by national borders. This means that we must work together like never
before if we are to protect our children. In cyberspace, we really are only as
strong as our weakest link; we are only as secure as our weakest hub.
There's an old Swedish proverb that goes like this:
"Fear less, hope more - Whine less, breathe more - Talk
less, say more - Hate less, love more - And all good things are yours."
Despite the very real dangers, I believe wholeheartedly that there is a
better future ahead of us. If we are bold, if we work in good faith and don't
just talk but take action to protect our children, then all good things will
indeed be theirs.