International Standards Best Practice Actions & Measures
Today, young people in Africa are among the biggest user groups of online and mobile technologies. Internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) open a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and providing opportunities to learn, create identities and participate in society. In parallel, however, ICT can also expose children and young people to risks that may be simply considered as the digital extension of existing offline threats. Measures that can protect them against these risks are not always easy to effectively migrate to a virtual and global digital environment.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as being any person under the age of 18. In 2008 the ITU, launched the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative, bringing together a broad spectrum of governmental and inter-governmental agencies, law enforcement agencies, industry and civil society representatives.
Key Objectives of ITU COP Initiative are:-
- Identify risks and vulnerabilities to children in cyberspace
- Create awareness
- Develop practical tools to help minimize risk, and
- Share knowledge and experience
ITU's COP initiative is "a multi-stakeholder effort to bring together partners from all sectors of the global community to ensure a safe online experience for children everywhere. Guidelines have been developed by ITU and teams of contributing authors from leading institutions active in the ICT sector, with the aim to address the key actors. It is vital that all stakeholders are made aware of both the opportunities as well as the pitfalls that come with being online.
To date four sets of guidelines have been developed, a) Children b) Parents, Guardians and Educators c) Industry and d) Policy makers.
The ITU COP Guideline advises and recommends that a comprehensive protection response entails action involving a diversity of governmental and non-governmental actors across a range of spheres. It requires working directly with young people in the design and implementation of information and protection strategies.
Children and young people need information about risks and how to avoid them, and the mechanisms and pathways to follow if they find themselves in situations judged to be dubious. They need skills to make informed choices in their cyberspace activities and to provide each other with support.
In order to address COP issues, ACOPEA Africa has taken steps to enhancing countries implementation of e-safety best practice action and measures from around the world with the prime objective of protecting children and young people from online hostilities.