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UNICEF India teams up with Facebook for kids’ online safety

By Dhrubaa Ghosh,

Are children adequately protected online? UNICEF and Facebook are concerned. Read on to know more.

Cyber security for is a major cause of concern among parents.

UNICEF India and Facebook recently declared the launch of a year-long partnership, aimed at protecting kids online and ending violence against children via digital media. Through the initiative, both the organisations will try to improve digital safety for children when they access online media and spread awareness on violence against children, showing how it impacts them and their families. Apart from running campaigns, the programme will include building the skills of communities and workers engaged in protecting kids, and make them better equipped at preventing and responding to violence against children, 

What would the joint campaign be? 
UNICEF and Facebook are planning a nationwide social media campaign in India. They would aim not only at spreading awareness on online threats among children, but also equip 1 lakh school students by teaching them about online safety, digital literacy, and psychosocial support. In their press statement, UNICEF it aims to improve children’s resilience and capacity to access the digital world safely, increase awareness on violence against children and its impact on children, families and communities, as well as enhance skills of communities and frontline workers to better prevent and respond to violence. The virtual launch of the initiative was attended by Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development Aastha Saxena Khatwani, Facebook Head of Programmes and Outreach for India Madhu Sirohi, and UNICEF India Deputy Representative Programmes Yasumasa Kimura. 

Why are they taking up this initiative?  
According to Joint Secretary Aastha Saxena Khatwani, the pandemic has made education easily available for children, but also increased their vulnerability. While the internet has enabled children to continue with their education, removing the barriers of time and geography, it has also brought in security threats from the online resources. UNICEF’s Yasumasa Kimura agreed to this point of view. According to Kimura, kids are facing increased violence online and offline. That’s why it’s important for stakeholders in children’s welfare to come together, be aware of the threats, and learn how to combat them. Both organisations are planning to create interactive awareness modules around online threats.