UNESCO in Brazil, ITU, and Childhood Brasil organize a webinar to discuss Online Safety for Children and Adolescents

The virtual meeting takes place on September 30 and will discuss strategies for national broadband plans by 2021 that prioritize the safety of younger users
Currently, children and adolescents already represent one-third of all internet users worldwide. By 2022, more than 1.2 billion new users will be added to this amount, with children and adolescents being the fastest growing online demographic. While benefiting from connectivity to education and entertainment, they are also exposed to risks and threats from the virtual world, such as harassment, cyberbullying, misinformation, exposure to inappropriate content, gender violence, theft, and data collection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 200 million children and adolescents are sexually abused each year. Also, increasingly, much of this type of violence occurs online or is obtained and distributed digitally. In this case, the internet is a facilitator of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Protecting children and teenagers online is a challenge that requires a global approach. With this in mind, the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations’ specialized agency for information and communication technologies, launched the Online Child Protection Initiative in November 2008, which brings together partners from all sectors of the global community. In June 2020, the ITU launched the 2020 Guidelines on Online Child Protection – a comprehensive set of recommendations for children and adolescents, parents and educators, industry, and legislators on how to contribute to the development of a safe and empowering online environment for children and young. Access the Guidelines here.

To discuss this issue, UNESCO in Brazil, Childhood Brasil, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will hold a virtual meeting on September 30 with the theme: “Online Safety of Children and Adolescents: dangers and opportunities”. The webinar will have the opening of H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, founder of the World Childhood Foundation, and moderation by Sandra Annenberg, journalist, and presenter of Globo Repórter and the participation of the Director and Representative of UNESCO in Brazil, Marlova Jovchelovitch Noleto; the ITU Regional Director for the Americas, Bruno Ramos; and the president of Childhood Brasil, Roberta Rivellino. Follow the broadcast here. The webinar is part of the International Week for Universal Access to Information, which runs from September 28 (International Day for Universal Access) to October 2.

The event will also present the Portuguese version of the UNESCO-ITU Broadband Commission Report for Sustainable Development. The document provides information on technology, internet, and access for children and adolescents and seeks to raise awareness about prioritizing online security, presenting strategies for society, private companies, and governments to work together to combat digital violence and dangers.

The report consolidates some statistics on the topic: one in five children and adolescents between 9 and 17 years old sees unwanted sexual material online, and 25% of them reported feeling extreme fear or anguish; 17% of parents stated that their children have already been victims of cyberbullying (in some countries, this figure reached 37%); and identified that 99% of the terms and conditions of use online were written in a very complex language for the understanding of children and adolescents.

The webinar “Online Safety for Children and Adolescents: dangers and opportunities” has the support of the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (Abert) and the National Association of Newspapers (ANJ).

 

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