Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development Working Group -Report on Child Online Safety Launches at The United Nations (UN) in New York
The New Child Online Safety Report Highlights the Risks and Harms Children Face Online and Provides Actionable Recommendations for How to Prioritize Children’s Online Safety
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / October 1, 2019 / Today, the Co-Chairs of the Broadband Commission Working Group on Child Online Safety, Zain Group, the leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and North Africa, and the World Childhood Foundation USA (Childhood) announced the publication of a new report on Child Online Safety: Minimizing the Risk of Violence, Abuse and Exploitation Online. The report is a collective effort and draws upon the expertise of the Broadband Commissioners and experts from around the world. The report was presented at a high-level meeting at the UN, “Children & the Digital World: Threats and Opportunities”. Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, Founder of Childhood attended and delivered a keynote address.
Broadband connectivity brings many benefits to children, including access to education and entertainment, it also has a dark side to it as it exposes children to major risks and threats online as well as different forms of violence and exploitation, such as child sexual exploitation and abuse, bullying and radicalization, among other critical vulnerabilities. The new Child Online Safety report gathers the available evidence on the scale and nature of the risks and harms children face online and provides actionable recommendations for how to prioritize children’s online safety. The report was developed under the leadership of Dr. Joanna Rubinstein, President & CEO of Childhood USA, and Zain Group CEO of Operations, Scott Gegenheimer who co-chair the working group.
A key point made in the report is that we need to prioritize child online safety, especially in anticipation of the expansion of the broadband in the developing world where most children live today. All the stakeholders, governments, regulators, operators, Internet service provider, NGOs and civil society and academia have to join forces in implementing common strategies to make the Internet safer for children in order to help prepare future generations to thrive in the digital space. These steps include incorporating measures addressing child online protection in the national broadband plans, ensuring that applications and services are age-appropriate and save per design, and that we deploy technology-driven solutions to improve child online safety.
Commenting on the publication of the report, Dr. Joanna Rubinstein commented, “Millions of children are online every day using digital devices. They benefit from getting access to information, education and entertainment. However, they are also exposed to abuse and exploitation including sexual abuse, bullying and even radicalization. It is our duty to prevent this from happening and requires collective action. This report demonstrates the necessity of taking action now and sheds light on how we can take practical steps to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 calling on ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.”
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary - represent the global commitment to a better future for all, especially to children.
In 2018, the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development established the Working Group for Child Online Safety with the primary objective to raise awareness of the online risks and threats to children.
“There is a clear and urgent global need to work together to ensure that connectivity embellishes our children’s experience of the world, rather than impairs it,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU.” Today’s new report and Declaration by the Broadband Commission Working Group on Child Online Safety are welcome and valuable contributions to the global store of best practice, as well as serving as important new inputs to ITU’s Child Online Protection framework.”
Scott Gegenheimer said, “Child Online Safety is a topic that is of great importance for Zain and we are committed to playing our key role in addressing this on a global level. Our region has conflicts and challenges that are quite unique compared to other places in the world as well as the highest share of youth in the world, coupled with a rising broadband connectivity rate. It is imperative for organizations which are based in the region, to be at the forefront of the effort to protect the most vulnerable victims both in the physical world as well as in cyberspace.
Zain continues to champion the cause of child rights and protection given that challenges in tackling the dark side of connectivity are mounting. The report aims to raise the prioritization of child online safety among all key stakeholders and decision makers including in governments, the private sector, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and academia. Zain has been bold and unapologetic in shedding light on topics related to child abuse and the need to stamp it out, which can sometimes be considered a taboo topic in region.
The Internet has already transformed our lives at an unprecedented pace and scale. For children in developed countries, the digital world is the one they are born into and live within every single day. The Internet and its associated technologies are completely integrated into the way they live their lives across a very broad spectrum of activities. Governments, academia, civil society and the private sector must invest in and accelerate the development of scalable solutions to address abuse and exploitation of children online. Achieving the SDGs for children by 2030 requires innovation and collective action.
Broadband connectivity is a key enabler for children’s future, as it ensures that all children have an equal opportunity to thrive, so that no child is left behind. It also plays a critical role as an enabling component as well as helping fuel the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals.
The new Working Group report on Child Online Safety may be downloaded by clicking on this link:
About Zain Group
Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to 49.2 million active customers as of 30 June, 2019. With a commercial presence in 8 countries, Zain operates in: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan. In Lebanon, the Group manages ‘touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a 15.5% stake in ‘INWI’, through a joint venture. Zain is listed on the Boursa Kuwait (stock ticker: ZAIN). For more information, please email or visit: www.zain.com; www.facebook.com/zain; www.twitter.com/zain; www.youtube.com/zain; www.instagram.com/zaingroup; www.linkedin.com/company/zain
About World Childhood Foundation
World Childhood Foundation envisions a world where all children are free from violence, sexual abuse, and exploitation. Founded in 1999 by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, World Childhood Foundation commemorates 20 years investing in the development of solutions to prevent and address child sexual abuse and exploitation. World Childhood Foundation, a UN accredited NGO, directly supports >100 projects globally and raises awareness about our cause. World Childhood Foundation’s work is aligned with the global Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 - ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children by 2030. For more information, please visit: www.childhood-usa.org
SOURCE: World Childhood Foundation USA
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