Nº 1 2013 > Safer Internet Day 2013
Safer Internet Day 2013 focuses on online rights and responsibilities
Our children are our future. This, coupled with the younger generation’s particular vulnerability in an online environment, makes it essential to promote safer and more responsible use of the Internet and of information and communication technologies (ICT) among children and young people around the world. Facing up to this challenge, Safer Internet Day and ITU have taken important steps to educate, empower and protect children online.
Celebrating Safer Internet Day
The 10th annual Safer Internet Day took place on 5 February 2013 with the theme “Online rights and responsibilities”. The focus was on empowering children and youth, while online, to navigate safely — and with respect for one another — across every ICT platform, enabling them to use these technologies to help in achieving their future aspirations. This year, Safer Internet Day brought together governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations to promote a safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially by children and young people.
Over the years, Safer Internet Day has become a landmark event in the online safety calendar. Starting as an initiative of the European Union’s Safe Borders project in 2004 and taken up by the Insafe network as one of its earliest actions in 2005, Safer Internet Day has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in more than 90 countries worldwide, and across six of the world’s seven continents.
Marking Safer Internet Day 2013, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré spoke of the fundamental role that ICT have played in driving social and economic progress, as well as in opening new frontiers and opportunities for young people, enabling them to cultivate their inherent creativity, innovation and dynamism in a digital environment.
The Secretary-General also talked passionately about the dramatic changes associated with the proliferation of ICT, which along with progress and opportunities also potentially brings with it new threats and risks to the safety and security of children — the most vulnerable members of society.
The President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, Patron of ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) global initiative, during her video message marking Safer Internet Day, highlighted her country’s efforts in implementing COP, through the appointment of a National Commission on Cybersecurity. With her commitment, Costa Rica has been working hard — jointly with ITU — to create and develop a national model to promote online protection. The model involves not only government, but also private sector partners, non-governmental organizations, schools and parents — a broad cross-section of stakeholders — across Costa Rica. “I hope we can serve as a role model for other countries”, said President Chinchilla.
Miss Deborah Taylor Tate, ITU COP Special Envoy, also speaking on Safer Internet Day, highlighted how COP is empowering children to navigate safely — respecting one another — to achieve their own dreams. “Children need guidance in the online world, as they need it in the offline world”, said Miss Tate. ITU launched the Child Online Protection initiative in 2008, as part of its Global Cybersecurity Agenda.
Global Youth Summit
In September 2013, ITU will be organizing the Global Youth Summit, which will be hosted in Costa Rica under the patronage of President Chinchilla.
The Global Youth Summit will provide a global platform to bring youth together to join forces and create solutions for social good, enabled through widespread access to ICT.
This will be a unique occasion for youth to advocate their online rights and demonstrate how ICT are empowering them to fulfil their own dreams and careers.
ITU, as the leading United Nations agency for ICT, sees every day that the present generation of children live in a connected online world and thus need to be protected. ITU stands ready to assist all countries to develop child online protection policies, build capacity, and foster international cooperation.