Friday, December 3, 2010

Digital Safety for Children and Youth

Last October, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University together with UNICEF, brought together 23 experts to discuss the working document: "Working Towards a Deeper Understanding for Digital Safety for Children and Youthin Developing Nations ". There were participants representing all regions, with experts who traveled from South Africa, Bahrain and India to attend the two-day meeting.

Latin America was represented by the following experts from Brazil: Luiz Moncau of the Fundacao Getulio Vargas and Brazil Thiago Taveras and Carlos Gregorio Safernet Research Institute for Justice, Argentina. The meeting was a great opportunity to identify the main challenges in the field of online safety for children and youth, with time for informal discussions, presentations, and rich discussions.


The use of digital technologies poses new dangers such as cyberbullying, sexting, online grooming , pornography and violence online. Direct actions to strengthen online security should be included in our plans to take full advantage of the benefits of digital technologies. In the region there is a lack of extensive research in the field of online security and not enough mapping of good practices, describing initiatives which aim to inform and protect the activities of children and youth online.

The Bank wants to have an important role in the subject, identifying promising experiences and case studies and promoting the creation of innovative educational materials that empower and protect children and youth in their interaction online. For now we will share some promising practices identified in the past weeks and we hope to hear from our blog readers soon with more input on the topic.


Promising practices:
o The wiki page of the Berkman Center about Child online Safety in the Developing World (http://youthandmedia.org/wiki/Child_online_safety_in_the_developing_world ).Conference participants will be working in the upcoming months updating the group’s work on the matter.

o The memorandum on the protection of personal data and privacy in online social networks, particularly children and youth (http://www.iijusticia.org/Memo.htm). This document is being distributed and accompanied with activities and projects in several countries in the region (Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, among others).

o Brazil Safernet (http://www.safernet.org.br/site/ ) work is being replicated in several countries in the region. This NGO alliance with private enterprise and government agencies has proven to be very successful.

o The global launch of COP-Child Online Protection (Protection of children and adolescents in line) was held on November 17 in San Jose Costa Rica by Laura Chinchilla President of Costa Rica and patron of the initiative and HamadounTouré, ITU Secretary-General. More information at : www.itu.int/cop

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