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UNICEF: Children Prone to Grave Risks Online

UNICEF: Children Prone to Grave Risks Online

By Hajar El Khaldi

Rabat – Eighty-eight percent of Moroccan children use the internet daily. Worldwide, a new child joins the internet every half a second, and a total of 175,000 children go online for the first time every day, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Although the internet holds undeniable benefits and has become an essential element in daily life, it also has a potentially damaging dark side.The internet carries a host of risks for these new youth users, including cyber-bullying, access to harmful content, sexual exploitation, and the misuse of private information.

Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy declared, “Every day, thousands of children are going online for the first time, which opens them up to a flood of dangers we are just coming to appreciate, let alone address.” In order to tackle this issue, Chandy maintained that governments should put more efforts into understanding and protecting “children’s online lives,” in addition to formulating policies and approaches to eliminate the most notorious dangers.

According to the report, children compose one out of three internet users. Efforts to protect this significant demographic  from digital world hazards, guard their personal information, and increase their access to safe online content have been insufficient

The UNICEF report holds the private sector, mainly in the technology and telecommunication industries, as primarily responsible for spearheading a, due to the high impact that their industry products exert on children. Nevertheless, the report also maintains a sweeping collective responsibility, as it states that the obligation to protect children in the digital world lands on everyone, including governments, families, schools, and other institutions.

Children’s daily internet usage in Morocco has reached 88 percent, exceeding average internet usage at 60 percent, according to a 2016 survey conducted by research firm Averty in partnership with Kaspersky Lab.

In 2016 alone the study revealed that 60 percent of Moroccan children internet users were affected by computer security threats, such as viruses, privacy violations, and data loss.

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