Global Resource & Information Directory

IGF 2014, the ninth Internet Governance Forum is underway in Istanbul, Turkey, running from 2 – 5 September. The theme of this year’s event is ‘ Connecting Continents for Enhanced Multistakeholder Internet Governance’. A number of workshops, panels and other sessions will take place over the course of the event, and topics from child online safety to privacy and blocking are included. One of these events is being hosted by the EU Kids Online network. A panel discussion, entitled ‘Researching children’s rights in a global, digital age’ will be moderated by Professor Sonia Livingstone of LSE. It comprises a range of speakers from law enforcement to academia, from a number of countries around the world.

To coincide with IGF2014, The EU Kids Online network published its ‘Final Recommendations For Policy‘, outlining more than 30 actions which could be taken by a range of stakeholders to make the Internet safer for children. Children and young people are encouraged to play their part in a number of ways.  These include: respecting age limits where they are put in place; asking for help if they have been bullied or encounter something online which upsets them and sharing in the responsibility for others – especially in the areas of bullying and harassment.

Parents are encouraged, among a number of actions, to support children’s exploration of the Internet and to educate themselves about technology and safety so as to better accomplish that. They are encouraged to be clear about rules and communicate regularly with children about what they might find online which could be upsetting. Parents are also called upon to focus more on positive content and online activities and think less about risk, treating any media coverage critically.

The need to support socially disadvantaged parents through education about the importance of media education is also recognized. Governments, educators, Industry and the media are also included as part of the multi-stakeholder approach.  Further information about this report and many others can be found in the Research sections of each participating country on GRID.

iStock_000014310599_SmallThe GRID Report, published today, highlights some of the digital inclusion initiatives and projects across Latin America and the Caribbean which provide children with access to technology. With increasing numbers of children becoming connected, the report also compares some of the region’s online safety initiatives.

Many initiatives involve giving children their own connected devices: known as one-to-one computing. A large number of One Laptop Per Child projects have been undertaken across Latin America in recent years, with all children in Uruguay being given their own laptop by 2012.  The same year, in Brazil, 176,000 units were distributed to students as part of Intel’s Classmate PC program.

The report notes that while methodology across the region varies, most programs have focused primarily on deployment for the first phase. The safe use of technology is more commonly a second-phase activity. National projects involve partnerships between government, industry and NGOs to deliver all aspects from equipment to training.

In addition to highlighting country-level initiatives, the report also highlights activities being undertaken at a regional level. RedNATIC (the Network for the Right of Children and Adolescents to the Safe and Responsible Use of new ICTs) is a group of organizations from civil society across Latin America. Its members are committed, to its Theoretical Framework for the rights of children and teens to a Safe and Responsible Use of ICT. RedNATIC comprises members from Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico and Uruguay.

Children across the region can benefit from the Interactive Generations Forum, whose mission is to promote the use of technology to improve people’s lives. It provides educational resources and training, and a range of online safety information is included in its Families section. The forum is the result of a partnership founded in 2008 between the telecommunications provider, Telefónica, the University of Navarra and the Inter-American Organization (OUI).

Another NGO which works across the region is Chicos.net: one of the member organizations comprising RedNATIC . Founded in Argentina in 1998, its work in the area of digital inclusion covers a number of formats. It has produced a number of pieces of research about children’s use of technology and the Internet. A 2012 comparative piece, produced with Save The Children Sweden, looks at the usage of the Internet by children aged between 8 and 10 in Argentina, Paraguay and Peru. The organization has also produced Internet safety campaigns and educational resources on a variety of related topics.

Further information about all the organizations and initiatives mentioned in the report can be found on the relevant country or region page on GRID. Links point to English-language content where possible, but also to a wealth of resources in Spanish and Portuguese. These are updated frequently, with GRID’s home page showing the most recently updated pages for ease of access. In addition, following FOSI’s Mexico Roundtable event in 2014, FOSI published a guide to a number of Spanish language online safety resources, covering topics from safe cell phone use to cyberbullying and online privacy protection.

Past GRID Reports can be found on GRID here.

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