Unicef calls for protection, supervision of children using internet

December 26, 2017

NEW YORK: Only 15 per cent people have access to the Internet in the least-developed countries, a UNICEF report has revealed.

In developed countries, an estimated 81 per cent people use Internet, the report “The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World” covering 24 countries in 2017 said, calling for a safe digital world for children.

The report quoted data from world’s wealthiest countries to show that ICT experience has a huge impact on the wages of labourers in countries like Australia and US. Adults without ICT experience were likely to earn less.

The report said while about 29 per cent of youth, in the age group of 15-24 years, (346 million individuals), don’t have access to the Internet, the situation is almost opposite in the case of children.

Just about 30 per cent of children, below 15 years, have access to the digital media across the globe, the report said.

The report calls for faster action, focused investment and greater cooperation to protect children from the harms of a more connected world

“It is understandable that humanitarian organizations in the field are rightly more focused on responding to emergencies than working through legal details about data collection and sharing. However, to fully benefit from the potential of digital technologies in emergencies and other contexts, the international community must simultaneously address concerns on how to respect privacy and fundamental rights, particularly for the world’s most vulnerable populations, including children and adolescents.”

“Smartphones are fuelling a ‘bedroom culture’, with online access for many children becoming more personal, more private and less supervised,” it said.

The report represents the first comprehensive look from UNICEF at the different ways digital technology is affecting children, identifying dangers as well as opportunities.

It makes a clear call to governments, the digital technology sector and telecom industries to level the digital playing field for children by creating policies, practices and products that can help children harness digital opportunities and protect them from harm. – Samaa


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