Joint ITU-UNICEF Open Forum on Child Online Protection

24 October 2013 - A Open Forum on Bali,Indonesia


Over the past twenty years, new information and communication technologies (ICTs) have profoundly changed the world in which today’s young people learn, grow, interact and participate in the world around them. The proliferation of Internet access points, the growing array of Internet-enabled devices and the immense resources of the Internet provide children and young people with prolific opportunities to learn, share and communicate. ICTs have empowered children to assert their rights to participation, enabling them to better communicate and connect with their families and friends, express their views and opinions, and facilitate their mobility. They are also helping to protect children from violence and abuse, as children seek information and report violence and abuse through helplines and websites. Last but not least, ICTs increasingly serve as a primary mode of cultural exchange and a source for entertainment. Despite the profound benefits of the Internet, children and young people face a number of associated risks to their online safety. ICTs can be used negatively by adults to impose harm on children, and conversely, children may engage in risky behaviours online that create negative repercussions for themselves. The interlinkages between the ICT sector and children’s rights include, but are not limited to, their rights to education, non-discrimination, play, leisure, recreation, cultural activities, privacy, and appropriate information; freedoms to thought and expression; and protection from violence, exploitation and abuse, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). There is growing consensus that it is critical to strike a balance between taking advantage of the benefits offered by ICTs for children, at the same time as ensuring the children are protected from violence, exploitation and abuse while using ICTs. For example, the ICT industry should proactively involve itself in child online protection through promoting both self-regulation and digital citizenship. Business can do much more to strengthen children’s protection from violence and abuse while using ICTs, while at the same time acknowledging their rights to participation. The Open Forum will highlight what has been achieved so far and what new initiatives are on the horizon from public, private and multistakeholder institutions.