Despite children’s massive online presence, too little is done to protect them from the perils of the digital world and to increase their access to safe online content, UNICEF and Facebook have launched a year-long mass awareness campaign last month in Bangladesh.
“The internet was designed for adults, but it is increasingly used by children and young people – and digital technology often affects their lives and futures. So, digital policies, practices, and products should better reflect children’s needs, perspectives and voices,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative at the launching event.
According to the ‘State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a digital world’, lack of adequate knowledge about proper internet use increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, including misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyberbullying. The ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, the report notes, has made online access for many children less supervised – and potentially more dangerous.
“Children are increasingly spending more time online at younger and younger ages, and it’s important to teach them to how protect themselves online and remain safe. Online safety, today, is a critical and important conversation and between parents and kids, teachers and students. And with this partnership we want to encourage conversations about safety and technology early and often, in the same way we talk about being safe in public places or while playing or at school,” added Ritesh Mehta, Head of Programs, India and South Asia, Facebook.
The recent collaboration in between UNICEF and Facebook to promote online safety for children intends to help guide more effective policymaking and more responsible business practices to benefit children include:
• Provide all children with affordable access to high-quality online resources.
• Protect children from harm online – including abuse, exploitation, trafficking, cyberbullying and exposure to unsuitable materials.
• Safeguard children’s privacy and identities online.
• Teach digital literacy to keep children informed, engaged and safe online.
• Leverage the power of the private sector to advance ethical standards and practices that protect and benefit children online.
• Put children at the center of digital policy.
The year-long campaign aims to reach altogether 25 million Bangladeshi children along with their parents and teachers to ensure Children’s Internet Protection from ‘Online Risks’ by elaborating the issues related to children’s well-being in this digital era.