About a year back Pakistan Telecommunication Authority held a competition on ITU’s theme for 2009, “Protecting Children in Cyberspace”. Yours faithfully also participated and luckily won the first prize! The article itself is pasted below for you to read and enjoy. Best wishes
Internet is in a constant state of growth and change. New technologies mean new services and hence it is always in a state of evolution. Internet is neutral and can be used by anyone for any purpose. There area lot of ills and threats thriving in cyberspace and children are susceptible to these ills. These are covered in some detail here along with a brief analysis. Based on the analysis some worth recommendations have also been made. These recommendations if considered for adoption can help control the menace of child exploitation in Cyberspace.
The Internet is strange in many ways. Since its birth it has been growing at a phenomenal rate. 100 million websites and 1.5 billion internet users later this medium is growing and still strong. Few would have imagined its potential and power just a decade ago and fewer still would have predicted the way it is today. Since its inception it has been used for a myriad purposes, there is business, the daily E-mail, news, recreation, education, entertainment, social purposes, research and the inevitable chat to count a few. Each day a new use, a new technology and a new purpose is discovered. One thing is for sure now, there is no escaping the Internet, that is, it is now inevitable. Cyberspace is difficult to control and dominate, today. As the number of its netizens comprising young, old, poor, rich, simple, troublesome, black, white and all increase its making its own set of rules and is akin to controlling an underworld, that is by all means huge and constantly growing. Human behavior, habits and actions are unpredictable and this very feature makes the cyberspace hazardous. Add to this the fact that in cyberspace everybody can be somebody and a nobody all at the same time and we have a very complicated situation. There are children, adults, professionals, students, hobbyists and business people and then there are people with fake identities, perverted ideas, and assumed characters.
The Internet is addictive because it is always there and surprisingly there is something for everybody in it. These features make it attractive for all, and children are no exception to it. It is their curiosity and urge to learn that drives them to ride the Information Superhighway. The vast and endless amount of information available on the Net is a wonderful feature, and hence the attraction. This attraction does not end here, for the Net is prone to all types of threats. Threats from predators, threat from unwanted data, threat from pornography, lurkers, unsolicited e-mails etc. Children in young and tender ages are susceptible to all such hazards and uncontrolled use of the Net can lead to circumstances and occasions that are unwanted and in some cases ugly. Besides control and monitoring, there have to be in place laws, rules, regulations, policies and guidelines so that the menace can be addressed at all levels instead of leaving it o the parents to guard the children. It has to be a systematic process covering various tiers, so that slips at one end can be covered at another so that the issue addressed in totality.
Continue reading Protecting Children in Cyberspace. (I won the Best essay Award, organized by ITU-T)