21/12/2018 | 08:46 AM
Tirana, 26 November 2018 - A high-level “VIRAL Summit: A better internet for children and adolescents in Albania” is organised by UNICEF Albania to gather and spread innovative ideas, inspire and stimulate immediate action and contribute to the Government of Albania’s Action Plan for a better and safer internet for children.
More than 175,000 children go online for the first time every day – that is one child every half second. Simultaneously, a growing body of evidence indicates that children are accessing the internet at increasingly younger ages. In Albania, the number of active internet users increased to 2 million in 2017 that is 18% higher as compared to 2016. This exponential digital access exposes children to a numerous benefits and opportunities, but also to a host of risks and harms, including access to harmful content, sexual abuse and exploitation, cyberbullying and misuse of private information.
“While government and private sector has done some progress to devise and implement policy responses to eliminate online risks for children, however there is lot more to be done to protect them from the perils of online risks”, said Roberto De Bernardi, UNICEF Representative. “As more children and especially younger children join the internet, there is urgent need to fully understand children’s online lives and experiences and ensure access to safe and quality online content”.
UNICEF believes obligations to protect children online lives remain with governments, families, and communities, however the private sector especially technology and telecommunication industries need to come forward and fulfil their responsibility to shape a safer digital world for children.
To address this concern and with a vision of a safer and better internet for children, the VIRAL Summit brings together global, regional and local experts, government partners, private sector, civil society, children and parents to explore innovative policy approaches to eliminate the most egregious online risks and protect children’s online lives.
In her greeting speech Marta De Santos Pais, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children said, “Either offline or online, States are required to pursue solutions that are guided by the best interest of the child, protect children from discrimination and respect and promote children’s growing autonomy”. Children’s freedom from online violence and abuse, right to information, and right to an effective remedy, recovery and reintegration are some other crucial dimensions of state responsibilities in this field” – she concluded.