ITU drafts guidelines to protect children online


h_toure_itu.jpgThe International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has pledged its commitment to creating a safe online environment, that protects children worldwide when using the internet and cyberspace.

The ITU has created a set of guidelines for the protection of children in cyberspace, which will be presented in draft form for discussion in Japan on 2-3 June.

The final Guidelines on Child Online Protection will be issued at the ITU Telecom World event scheduled for October in Geneva, Switzerland. Interested parties will be able to submit comments until 30 June 2009.

Says ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré: “We must do everything in our power to create a healthy online environment for our children”. He said he was confident that “a secure cyberspace for our children will not remain an ideal but will become a reality”.

Dr Touré recognized the importance of the draft guidelines prepared in close collaboration with numerous UN agencies and other organizations, including UNICRI, INTERPOL, and the European Commission.

Sami Al Basheer, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau added: “In choosing ‘Protecting Children in Cyberspace’ as the theme of this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, ITU and its Members hope that the many activities that accompany this event around the world will mark the start of a year-long ‘Call for Action’ of awareness-building which targets policy makers, industry, educators, parents and children, as well as helping garner further high-level international support.”

The proposed Guidelines on Child Online Protection (COP) are aimed at establishing a safe and secure online world for future generations. The set of four guidelines advocate empowering children and young people through education and awareness; providing information, advice and safety tips for parents, guardians and educators; and providing key information to policy makers as well as to industry in order to formulate national and international strategies.

— Mpendulo Ngwenya