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WSIS calls for a safe digital world for children


20 May 2009

Kedar Dash, OneWorld South Asia

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The WSIS Forum that began early this week at the ITU headquarters at Geneva focused on cybersafety for children on the first day.

Geneva: Children are our future and we need to create a safe environment for them in the digital world. This is a global concern that deserves global attention and action. This was the voice that rang out on the opening day at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) that began on Monday.
 
Recent years have witnessed the substantial impact created by the catalyzing role of ICT on development. But while its potential for social good is undisputed, it has also raised new and disturbing issues, especially where children are concerned.

Child pornography content is a multi-billion industry today. Violence in computer and video games is increasing day by day. In addition, there is an increase in behavioral addiction of children towards computers. In this very context it is needless to say that we cannot simply be a silent observer.

There are various global initiatives that currently combat this issue. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with its partner has started an initiative called Child Online Protection (COP) to deal with this serious issue. They are working to develop a guideline for various stakeholders i.e. Government, Industry, parents, educators and children. Microsoft and Canadian Government have developed a tool to trace objectionable content for children in the web.

“This is a trans-boarder issue and we have to move above politics in the best interest of our children and best interest of our future,” said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General, in his concluding remark of the day.

Hear the ITU Secretary-General's message

The strength of ICT needs to be seen in the best interest of humanity. At the same time awareness generation at various levels is critical in this fight. Multi-stakeholder partnership can help face a challenge of this magnitude. Appropriate regulation at national and international levels is also the call of time.

 
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