Mobile Operators Commit to Support and Promote Children´s Rights
The GSMA today announced its collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to promote industry guidelines to safeguard children online(1) in Latin America and the Caribbean. The GSMA will promote the Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection within the Latin American mobile industry and will work closely with UNICEF to identify ways in which mobile operators can promote children’s rights and responsible digital citizenship.
The new Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection were developed by UNICEF, the ITU, the GSMA and others to address substantial advances in technology and were undertaken in consultation with members of civil society, business, academia, governments, international organisations and young people. Designed to be relevant for a broad range of companies that develop, provide or make use of communications networks and Internet technologies in the delivery of their products and services, the guidelines establish a foundation for a safer and more secure use of Internet-based services by Latin American children, now and in the future.
“In collaboration with government, law enforcement, civil society and hotline organisations, mobile operators play a key role in protecting children online,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “The GSMA and its members are committed to leading the debate on how to protect young people online and to taking proactive action in this area. Launching self-regulatory initiatives such as these new guidelines is vital in the ongoing efforts to create a safe environment for children’s use of mobile services.”
The new guidelines cover five key areas:
- Integrating the consideration of children’s rights into all relevant corporate policies and management processes
- Developing standardised operational processes to handle child sexual abuse material
- Creating a safer and age-appropriate online environment
- Educating children, parents and teachers about children’s safety online
- Promoting digital technology as a way to increase civic engagement.
The GSMA will work closely with UNICEF to promote the guidelines with Latin American mobile operators via a series of workshops and webinars and provide practical support for the implementation of the guidelines on a country-by-country basis.
“Today’s era of massively available broadband Internet and mobile technology poses significant challenges to children’s online safety that require a global, coordinated response,” said Bernt Aasen, Regional Director for Latin America and Caribbean, UNICEF. “While local and national initiatives remain essential, the Internet knows no boundaries, and international cooperation on child online protection is key to protecting all children.”
The new Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection can be found at http://www.gsma.com/publicpolicy/myouth/mobiles-contribution-to-child-protection
(1) Despite the profound benefits of the Internet, children can face a number of risks when using information and communications technology including exposure to age-inappropriate content, or to malicious or inappropriate contact. Children need to be empowered to navigate the Internet safely, and become confident and responsible digital citizens who understand, for example, the implications for their long-term ‘digital footprints’ of sharing personal photos, and publishing comments and information online.