In celebration of Universal Children’s Day 2018Our Tigo volunteers in Colombia work with young people to raise awareness of the risks as well as benefits of the Internet
By Rachel Samrén, EVP Chief External Affairs Officer
November 2018: Most of us probably remember the first time we used the internet. But for children who have been brought up online, it's impossible to imagine a world without it. The reality is that, today, being online is the new normal for many children.
Having access to the internet allows children to learn, communicate and share in ways that were not possible, and even conceivable, for older generations. One in every three internet users in the world today is a child, and young people are the most connected of all age groups according to UNICEF's State of the World's Children report.
But children and adolescents are also the most vulnerable when online, as they are exposed to risks, such as the misuse of their private information, cyberbullying, and sexual abuse and exploitation.
It has now been eight years since Millicom and Tigo first started working with UNICEF to enhance our understanding of how our business can impact children, both positively and negatively. Many a good initiative has come out of that partnership, from minimizing the risk of child labor throughout our supply chain, to jointly creating a self-assessment tool for the mobile industry which helps determine the impact we have on the broader concept of Child Rights in all our business activities.
Through this work, we have developed an integral approach towards Child Rights, and have specifically prioritized Child Online Protection work that focuses on:
Education: promoting the safe, responsible, creative and productive use of the internet amongst children and adolescents;
Thought Leadership: working to bringing together the industry, civil society and the public sector on protecting and respecting Child Rights; and
Prevention and Dissuasion: doing our part to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online
In addition, over the years we have created more partnerships to multiply our efforts and the significance and scale of our impacts. Together with the Paniamor Foundation, and their Crianza Tecnologica content (http://crianzadigital.tigo.com.bo/proteger.html), we created a program through which we train teachers and parents on how to raise their children in an online world.
In 2018, we trained more than 500 teachers in the LatAm region. In Colombia, TigoUne, in 2017, launched a one-of-a-kind comprehensive research project in partnership with EAFIT University to deepen our understanding of how children and adolescents use the internet.
The results have provided great insights and fantastic validation of what we are doing, and have shown us that education on risks associated with the internet must go in hand with the understanding of its opportunities, and that the participation of adults is essential.
During 2018, we also created a Child Consultation Program which permitted more than 120 students to tell us how they feel technology allows them to exercise their rights.
We will continue all our efforts in this area, and only do more of it! In that regard, we signed a new three-year partnership agreement with UNICEF a few months ago. Under the agreement we will jointly work on projects that focus on violence prevention amongst youth, incorporating technology as a solution, and, in 2019, we will work with UNICEF on specific projects in Paraguay and Colombia to empower children through technology in safe online environments.
We are committed to respecting Child Rights in all we do. Children and adolescents are the future trendsetters for our industry, they are our future talent pool and co-workers, as well as our future customers. We are the company that protects connected children and helps connect the unconnected ones in a safe manner!
Happy Universal Children's Day to all