As a strong advocate of cyberwellness, leading telecommunications company Globe Telecom joins forces with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Philippines and Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) in the drive to create a child-friendly cyberspace. A tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed soon to formalize the partnership.
“Globe has already started its own cyberwellness initiative for young digital natives to help them create positive online presence while at the same time, arm them with facts they need to stay safe online in a way that they can easily understand. Thus, this partnership with AHRC and UNICEF Philippines is very timely as it brings together the capabilities of key stakeholders committed to online child protection.” said Fernando Esguerra, Director of Globe Corporate Social Responsibility.
The partnership aims to build awareness on children’s rights in cyberspace and to combat child sexual exploitation online in view of the increasing role that information and communications technology (ICT), particularly the internet, plays in children’s lives.
According to the Philippine National Police, half of internet users are children aged 17 years old and below, making it important to create a wonderful world for children in cyberspace. The internet is where more and more children turn to when they need to learn, play, and socialize. However, without proper guidance, many children are left exposed to cyberbullying, sexual solicitation, violent images, among other disturbing content which may affect their well-being negatively.
Thus, AHRC, aware of Globe Telecom’s mission to create a #wonderfulPH through a digital nation, decided to tap the company to be a partner and to be the first internet service provider in the Philippines to provide innovative and concrete steps to protect children in cyberspace. AHRC is fully-supported by UNICEF Philippines.
UNICEF has also invited Globe to participate in the first Asia-Pacific workshop on the role of the ICT industry in protecting children online which it organized recently together with the GSM Association in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop aimed to create a space for learning and discussion among key industry players on how to ensure that children are safe online as well as to prevent and punish criminal offenses against children in the Internet.
UNICEF is increasingly exploring how ICT can be used in child protection and is also engaged in advocacy for the criminalization of child sexual abuse materials and online grooming of children; and raising awareness and building capacities of children, teachers and caregivers on the risks of ICT, among others concerns.
Once the MoU is in place, Globe intends to include a workshop on Child Online Protection and Child Rights which will be developed by AHRC and UNICEF for the Digital Thumbprint Program (DTP) piloted early this year with much success in two public high schools. DTP, an award-winning program of Optus and Singtel in Australia, was adopted by Globe to develop savvy, responsible and proactive members of the online community, starting with the Filipino youth.
At present, DTP offers three free, fun, face-to-face interactive workshops which are open to all interested high schools in the country. The three topics – Digital Insight, Digital Impact, and Digital Ambition are tailored to the needs of specific year groups and teach students not only how to be discerning internet users and responsible digital citizens but also guide them on how to take control of their online lives.
Aside from DTP, Globe also earlier came out with ProTECH101 and StopSPAM campaigns to protect netizens from online fraud and identity theft and to crack down spam messages.