Releasing Children's Potential and Minimizing Risks: ICTS, the Internet and Violence against Children
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are developing ever more rapidly, with profound effects upon societies around the world. They bring with them enormous benefits and opportunities, most especially by facilitating access to the Internet. ICTs are creating new ways of communicating, learning, delivering services and doing business.
For children and youth, who are often particularly adept at harnessing the potential of these technologies, ICTs and the Internet represent an important opportunity for empowerment and engagement, offering new means of experiencing creative processes, communication, social interaction, entertainment and learning. Children are not simply passive recipients of information; they are also engaged participants and actors in the online world.
The Internet collapses physical distance and offers a vast, largely unregulated ‘space’ accessible to all by means of computers, laptops and increasingly mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.25 Openness and accessibility are fundamental aspects of the Internet - but therein also lie some of the greatest risks, in particular concerning the safety and well-being of children and young people. ICTs, and the unsupervised online access they facilitate, make children potentially vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation in ways that are often difficult for parents, caregivers, teachers and others to detect and respond to. Furthermore, technological advances have been so rapid that parents and caregivers often struggle to keep up with developments, especially in areas with low levels of digital literacy.