Greater protection for children from online predators necessary, Ban says

17 May 2009

Marking World Telecommunication and Information Society Day today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need to boost the protection for children from being taken advantage of on the Internet.

In a message commemorating the Day, whose theme this year is “Protecting Children in Cyberspace,” Mr. Ban noted that children and young people are among the groups of people who most widely use the Internet and mobile devices.

“As they surf through cyberspace seeking information and entertainment and building social networks, they are also among the most vulnerable to exploitation,” he added. “Without safeguards, their precious lives are at grave risk in the vicious world of cybercriminals and paedophiles that prey on easy targets.”

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child both recognizes the right to access to information but also accords protection against all forms of inducement to engage in unlawful activities, the Secretary-General said, calling for these provisions to be applied rigorously.

“The virtual world has exciting possibilities for nurturing children and helping them grow into creative, productive adults,” he said.

“But we must mind the pitfalls that could scar them for life,” Mr. Ban said, calling on policy-makers and industry leaders to take action to ensure the safety of all in the rapidly-evolving virtual world.

The International Day marks the founding of the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 17 May 1865 and celebrates the agency's role in connecting the world.

 

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