ITU launches Child Online Protection initiative

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in collaboration with several U.N. agencies, Thursday launched an initiative to safeguard children, the Internet's most vulnerable users.

Called Child Online Protection (COP), the initiative will bring together partners from all sectors of the international community with the aim of creating a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere.

"We have to protect against cyberthreats, especially when they target children," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his video address to the 2008 ITU Council High-Level Segment on Wednesday. "I welcome the ITU's Child Online Protection initiative and urge all states to support it."

According to the ITU, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), the U.N. Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) are all involved in the project in order to mount a concerted global effort to ensure that the cyberworld becomes a safe place for young people to work, learn and play in.

The Internet and telecommunications present some major challenges in the context of child protection, "but these technologies also make the world more connected, which means we have to be as well," said UNICEF Associate Director Dr. Pascal Villeneuve. "That's why we welcome efforts to combine expertise in combating cybercrime against children."

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