GENEVA, June 24. / Corr. TASS Konstantin Pribytkov /. The Internet, which has become a valuable source of information, can be dangerous, and children are especially vulnerable. This was recalled by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which launched its new Guidelines for Child Online Protection on 23 June in Geneva. They are intended for a wide audience.
ITU recalls that now every third Internet user in the world is under 18 years old. Meanwhile, on the Internet, children can be exposed to "various types of exposure due to content, contacts and harmful online behavior. This problem has become especially urgent during the coronavirus pandemic, when many children are online more often than usual.
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said in connection with the publication of the Guidelines that they are designed to “preserve the well-being, integrity and safety of our children”. In turn, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative on Violence against Children, Najat Maalla Mjid, recalled that "the behavior patterns of attackers and criminal networks are constantly changing, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic." It is imperative, she said, that child protection systems "evolve as quickly and even faster."
For young Internet users, the Guidelines provide a block of information that is accessible in language and bright in design. For kids under nine, this is a collection of stories about how to stay safe online. For those who are between 9 and 11 years old, the ITU offers to get acquainted with a textbook on this topic. Children and young people between the ages of 12 and 18 have the opportunity to find information on the website.
A separate section of the recommendations is intended for parents and educators. The importance of their open communication and dialogue with children is emphasized. Parents should be aware of the online and mobile services children use. It is also recommended to monitor the use of credit cards and other payment mechanisms.
There are also sections in the Guidelines for representatives of the communications industry and government agencies.
The ITU document was compiled from scratch to take into account the changes that have occurred in the digital sphere, namely the emergence of the "Internet of things", toys with access to the Internet, online games. Progress in artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics is also taken into account.