1st Congress Minors/Children and ICT
Ana Rosa Migoya Diego, Minister for Public Administration and
Spokesperson for the Government of the Principality of Asturias.
- Alberto Pérez Cueto, General Director for Modernization,
Telecommunications and Information Society of the Government of the
Principality of Asturias.
- Mr. Pablo Priesca Balbin, General Director CTIC Foundation.
- Mr. Paco Prieto, Director Information Society Area at CTIC
Foundation (responsible of the Congress)
- Dra. Margarita Cedeño de Fernandez, First Lady of the
Honored Officials, Esteemed Colleagues of the 1st Congress on Children
and ICT; and all who are Champions for children here and around the
world, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Muchos Gracias Senor _Alberto Perez Cueto of the
Government of Asturias, Spain
for the honor of being here with you for this crucial and critical dialogue
regarding the transformation of our world into a truly digital age and
the effect of that transformation upon our children.
You are in good company. I would like to take a moment and applaud
the global leadership provided by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
and also the International Telecommunications Union Secretary
General Hamadoun Toure in designating the theme of this year as
“Protecting Children in Cyberspace.” During the World Information
Society Day ceremony in Geneva, the Secretary Generals launched a
“call to action” by all Member Nations of the ITU and indeed by all the
world leaders to both celebrate the incredible opportunities of this
digital age and to continue to work tirelessly to provide connectivity to
all the world’s people, safely and responsibly. That “call to action”
included the request that all leaders use their authority and voice to
bring attention to the problems facing our children online—everyday—
in cyberspace. Cyberspace, which is no longer a “virtual world”; but the
very real world in which our children spend much of their lives.
Thus, I also applaud the government of Asturias for being one of the
very first national leaders to answer this global “call for action” and to
host this 1st Congress for these important discussions. It is through
leadership such as you have shown, that we will be able to continue to
provide a platform for policy-makers, industry, academia and families
to exchange best practices and real world tools to help protect our
children. Thank you for this invitation, but more importantly thank
you for the exemplary and visionary leadership to protect not only your
children here in Spain; but all the world’s children.
ITU Telecom World
Two weeks ago, World leaders from over 150 nations gathered again in
Geneva to mark another milestone in our march forward in internet
history. While our countries and indeed the world, face an economic
crisis unmatched during the past eight (8) generations, Telecom World
focus was clearly on the future: from the positive impact of ICT with
regard to investment and deployment of new technologies and
applications to the possibilities for contributing to a greener world to the
need for joint resolve to the challenges of cybersecurity including the
protection not only of our government and financial institutions but also
our personal footprints, but most importantly to all of us gathered here:
the protection of our children online.
New Viral Diseases of an Online World
The benefits that advancements in global communications have provided
is precisely why I am so honored to participate in this event today. I am
delighted to have been part of several historic decisions made by the
United States from our unprecedented $30 billion in spectrum auctions to
decisions unleashing new competition in the video and broadband
markets as well as deregulatory policies launching wireless, WIMAX,
BPL and other new broadband technologies in new parts of our spectrum
such as the “white spaces” in order to connect all Americans no matter
where they may choose to live.
However, as policymakers and leaders remain committed to connectivity
for all the world’s people, we must also insure the recognition that this is
not merely a technological connection, but a very real connection to every
corner of the globe—the good, the bad and the ugly.
And, as more and more of our children have the opportunity to go online,
we must take special precautions regarding their safety in this always on,
digitized, world. That is why I am particularly proud to share with you
today the development of the International Child Online Safety Initiative
(COP) launched by the ITU; and to invite each of you—organizations,
providers, academic institutions, schools and governments to become a
part of COP. The recent outbreak of the H1N1 flu may actually be
helpful to our discussions as our healthcare counterparts have spent
decades creating and streamlining communications plans in the case of
such outbreaks; years of indepth research, prevention education,
development of medications and vaccinations and public messaging at all
levels from national leaders to local doctors.
I think that it is our duty as adults, as government representatives,
industry leaders and caregivers to learn from the efforts of our healthcare
colleagues and insure our chidren reap the benefits of this new digital age
without becoming infected by what are significant and viral diseases of the
online world. Just as in the H1N1 example, we must utilize the knowledge
and research that we have gained regarding cybersecurity threats and
provide it to the world---from illegal predatory behavior and fraudulent
uses of the internet that warrant involvement by government and criminal
law enforcement officials to the proliferation of extremely damaging
personal information and even entirely new health diagnoses such as cyber
bullying and Internet-related addictive behaviors. These are now a very
real part of our children’s very real world. And we must respond---as
parents, teachers, engineers, communications providers, the media and
leaders--just as we would with any infectious outbreak.
We must acknowledge the threats, discover the universe of possible
responses to each threat ---and then empower ourselves with the tools to
eradicate the problem. COP provides this global communications tool.
Child Online Protection: COP
So what is COP? The Child Online Protection Initiative is an
international collaborative network that is striving to promote the
infinite possibilities offered by ICTs while keeping in mind that online
dangers are a very real threat to children and young people in
I am confident that COP will be able to provide a global response to new
risks our children face-risks that once were only experienced in the real
world but are alive and well in the new world of cyberspace. For too long
we have lived under a myth—the myth that our children are safe as long
as they are in their own home. We now realize that this is not the case as
they can travel anywhere in the world---- from within their own room.
This conference and others give real world examples of the dangers and
risks that lurk online as well as to share what is being done worldwide to
educate, protect and prosecute to protect our children in the online world
just as we would in the offline one.
Digital Online Opportunities
However, before I go any further, let me be the first to extol the
incredible opportunities this new digital age affords all of us. As a state
and federal official in the United States, I utilized every resource, every
vote, every speech to advance the virtues of these technologies-especially
to bridge the digital divide. As nations and leaders, one of our most
critical goals is to connect all of our citizen--- to the internet; to establish
appropriate policies that encourage innovation and incentives to deploy
broadband to the last mile, the last house, the last village, the last
mountaintop so that every single citizen in our world can reap the
incredible and dazzling benefits which broadband and the internet has to
offer. From tele-health and remote surgery; to e-commerce and distance
learning; our citizens can improve their health, enhance their education,
seek new employment opportunities, attain prosperity and compete
globally while remaining in contact with family and friends no matter
how many miles may come between them.
Vital Role of ITU
That is why the ITU has a unique role to play --and all those organizations
who have joined in this effort-- are crucial to the full maximization of these
spectacular technological devices and applications for our children. I am
encouraged that COP is working towards the goal of becoming a world
repository of information. Whether you are a Government leader or a
parent; whether you are a policymaker or educator; whether you are
looking for in-depth research, a public service announcement for any
medium, or curriculum for your classroom---COP aims to provide a vast
menu of tools and information from all parts of the globe.
Good Digital Citizenship
For this reason, I thank those of you for your efforts to promote online
safety and for your willingness to work together toward simple but
profound life’s lessons of being safe and civil citizens online; toward a goal
of “good digital citizenship” for all. We cannot allow any child to be the
subject of harm-for instance, cyberbullying-- when we know that it is
occurring. Cyberbullying for example is much more dangerous than a
playground bully. It is viral, has the capacity to bully a victim in front of
thousands and is.. of course…not a one moment episode, but is forever.
Psychologists are studying these phenomenon along with other negative
behaviors such as “sxtng” and online addictive disorders. Thus, we must
educate parents, caregivers, teachers, and of course our youth regarding
these dangers and arm them with tools and information to protect and
empower them. This is not about a checklist, it is a culture. A culture of
online security based upon knowledge, education and empowerment.
Many providers have joined in this collaboration, many have joined the self
regulatory efforts such as GSMA Mobile Alliance and the EU Code of
Conduct; Telefonica here in Spain has created curriculum such as
Teachtoday, parental tools and even special handsets for children. I applaud
these efforts, but we must continue as each child is connected to insure that
connection is safe and responsible.
A Call to Action
To those of you who are leaders: We must have rules for the
roads of cyberspace just as we have rules for our highways.
One real world example is the US has begun to ban texting
while driving. Why should other countries have to experience
the loss of life and other tragedy? We should be sharing our
investigation, research, and even draft laws toward prevention
of these risky behaviors in other parts of the world,
For parents and teachers and all caregivers: We must have rules of
acceptable, civil, appropriate behavior online as we do offline. You must be
involved in your child’s life online. This means checking their useage and
online profile, having definite rules about internet use and even reading
emails if you see a change in your child’s behavior.
For healthcare providers: We must undertake more research,
develop evidence-based prevention and treatment for new
diagnoses especially for our at risk youth. Then we must arm
our pediatricians and mental health practitioners—all those in
contact with children-- with this information to spot issues and
resolve before they escalate.
For CEOs and entrepreneurs: We must have new tools and devices that
are built from the beginning-- to protect our children on the front end.
And, they will need to evolve as new and brilliant minds create even more
innovative ways of communicating.
For companies and apps creators and network and internet providers:
you need to be part of the solution by provide funding for research, tools,
curriculum and educational opportunities. Why not be the first to offer a
“family friend phone” or a limited menu for child only exploration or sell
locked phones at point of sale which can only be unlocked in store by a
It is not only a good thing to do, but good for the bottom line as well.
I strongly urge global leaders to support this extremely important and
timely initiative because there is no doubt there is an urgent need to ensure
all the good work being done globally is brought together in a coordinated
effort for all to access. So please join together -join COP-- so we can insure
these miraculous and dynamic means of communication instill and inspire
the best and the brightest; providing a safe environment in which children
can learn and grow to meet their full potential; whether online or offline.
These are all our children-not Spain’s or America’s---
But, the world’s children.
The hope of tomorrow and the future leaders of your nation and mine.
They deserve nothing less.