BrandArena: ITU, UNICEF set new guidelines for online children protection

Tuesday 9 September 2014

ITU, UNICEF set new guidelines for online children protection

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have released an updated set of guidelines aimed at strengthening online protection for children. The guidelines were originally launched in 2008 in four parts for children, parents, guardians and educators, industry, and policy makers.

The new version includes advice on how the ICT industry can help promote safety for children using the internet or any technologies or devices that can connect to it, as well as guidance on how to enable responsible digital citizenship, learning and civic participation.

Presenting the new guidelines, ITU secretary-general Hamadoun I. Toure commented that although technical innovation has created tremendous opportunities for children, “at the same time they have been exposed to new risks in cyberspace.” The risks include inappropriate content, cyberbullying, grooming and violation of privacy. “These guidelines, prepared in partnership with the Child Online Protection initiative, respond to substantial advances in technology to assess and respond to children’s needs in the online world,” said Toure.

The Guidelines call for a comprehensive response to the online risks facing children and partnerships across multiple stakeholder groups, including governments, companies, civil society, parents and educators. UNICEF and ITU worked closely with partners such as the GSMA and Facebook in the development of the guidelines, and have also published a number of case studies in an effort to promote good practices to the wider industry.

The draft Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection have been prepared in the context of the International Telecommunication Union’s Child Online Protection (ITU COP) initiative and apply to the safety of children when using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).  They aim to provide advice on how industry can work to help ensure children’s safety when using the internet or any of the many associated technologies or devices which can connect to it or use it, including mobile phones and games consoles.  The draft guidelines have been developed through an initial consultation of the ITU COP members and are now open to a broader consultation until 20 December 2013.

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