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Responsible Use of ICT

Fostering Digital Citizenship through Safe and Responsible Use of ICT

ICT plays a critical role in enabling inclusive and sustainable human development by providing people not only with “access” to information and services but also with opportunities to participate in (“voice”) and contribute to the knowledge economy (“networking”). Indeed, in the past two decades or so, the Internet and digital technologies have rapidly evolved and have allowed easy and quick access to information, people, ideas, and opportunities across highly interactive media. ICT has definitely changed the way we learn, travel, work, interact, and participate, overcoming limitations set by distance and time. Without a doubt, the opportunities and benefits that ICT has brought to our lives are enormous.

However, the very same technologies have posted an array of social and ethical issues to contend with.  All over the world, numerous concerns and issues have been raised, ranging from online safety and security (identity theft, scams, system phishing, hacking, online predators and cyber bullying) to misuse of information (plagiarism, access to inappropriate contents, and misrepresentation) to health and mental hazard (long exposure to screen, back and arm pains, and game/internet addiction).  

The Asia Pacific (AP) region has not been exempted from various forms of ICT abuses, including spamming, intellectual property infringement (plagiarism and piracy), addiction, delinquency, health and wellness issues, cyberbullying, identity theft, fraud/ scams, pornography, and online sex trafficking.  Public anxiety has been quite high on these issues – particularly those affecting children and adolescents.  This has prompted some groups to propose censorship or strict regulation of ICT use or Internet access, discounting the loss of opportunities afforded by the technology. Others have called for more in-depth understanding of the issues and moderation in use and access.

In view of these challenges, young digital citizens need to equip themselves – from early years and with ample support from those around them – with a core competency of digital citizenship that addresses how to take advantage of these technologies in an ethical, safe, and responsible way without refraining from fully participating in and contributing to the knowledge society. The demand for relevant research, policy responses, advocacy programmes, capability building, and corresponding resources has increased in response to the growing concerns about the safe and responsible use of ICT for education and beyond, towards promoting opportunities to maximize benefits while managing risks to minimize harm. There is a clear need for specific training on the risks related to ICT use, not only for young people but their guardians (parents and teachers) as well.

In view of these, UNESCO Bangkok has been undertaking the “Fostering Digital Citizenship through Safe and Responsible Use of ICT” Project that aims to promote policy dialogue on the issues of the ethical, safe, and responsible use of ICT and in building the education sector’s capacity in fostering digital citizenship among children, by:

  •  providing member states with a sound evidence base to guide policy and practice
  • raising the level of consciousness among member states on digital citizenship through policy guidelines and campaigns

The project is designed to have the following activities: (a) collating, synthesizing, and transmitting the experiences and resources of existing key players in this area and (b) providing educational policy review and recommendations for the member states across the Asia-Pacific region to guide country-specific roll-out of the customized initiatives in their respective countries; and (c) developing a regional (digital) guide for educators to build their capability in fostering students’ digital citizenship.

It is hoped that this project will contribute to the efforts in equipping citizens with competencies to engage confidently and productively to global discourse and development in a more critical yet sustainable manner, with concern for social values, equity, and diversity. 

 

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Contact Information

Ms. Jonghwi Park
Programme Specialist
UNESCO Bangkok APEID/ICT in Education
Tel: +66 2 3910577 Ext. 225
j.park@unesco.org

                            

    

Ms. Maria Melizza D. Tan
Programme Officer
UNESCO Bangkok APEID/ICT in Education
Tel: +66 2 3910577 Ext. 223
mm.tan@unesco.org