Of the many governance and security issues few are as universally emotive as child protection. The question is how the ICT community can best join together for this vital cause.
The key problem of Child Online Protection (COP) is that there are different requirements from different cultures, religions and industry bodies in a globalised environment.
These issues were discussed at the recent Broadband Leaders Summit in Geneva during ITU Telecom World 2011 and as a result the following were seen as critical issues that need to be addressed:
- Parental guidance and basic education for their children
- Champions around the world need to be involved in COP
- The level of trust that we need to give to our children
- The common denominator that we all share – our children
- The framework that will protect children could also work for other governance issues
- The global nature of this issue requires a global solution and awareness/involvement of all parties
So far the feedback on these issues has been along the following lines:
- The need to agree on a global standardisation of ‘what is child exploitation?’
- Gather and share best practices from around the world in one place, one forum at one time
- The need for education – this fell into a number of areas:
- Parents – how to create awareness and education for parents. What tools and ‘training’ can parents be given/have access to that will enable them to then educate and involve their children. Agreed by most groups that parents have the primary responsibility.
- Children – how to involve and educate children on the issues. Use National Curriculum? Better codes of conduct.
- Cybersecurity: how to improve? Greater collaboration between agencies, Interpol, ITU etc. Challenge of using technology to solve the issues (eg, firewall approach would not work in many countries)
- Are there some examples of regulation in relation to the nuclear industry, which accepts some restrictions in the interest of the greater good?
- Create children’s conference – online forum and live event(s) that would achieve the following:
- Bring together the global perspective of children across all technologies
- Give children a say on shaping their future
- Bring together all levels
- Share best practice
A key issue coming back from the youth is: Don’t talk at us. We are the ‘digital natives’ and we are far more familiar with the technology than those who are governing it. We need to be actively involved in any decision-making process on these issues.
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