Safe, Effective and Responsible Use of ICT
Since 2015, UNESCO Bangkok has implemented the Fostering Digital Citizenship through Safe, Effective and Responsible Use of ICT Project with a wide range of partners and donors including Korean Funds-In-Trust, Intel and Google Asia Pacific. The Project aims to promote policy dialogue on using ICT safely, effectively and responsibly, and to build the education sector’s capacity to foster digital citizenship among children and youths, by:
- providing Member States with the evidence and tools to guide policy and practice
- sustaining the policy dialogue among Member States on current digital citizenship issues through meetings, policy guidelines and campaigns
From 2017 to 2019, UNESCO Bangkok's “Digital Kids Asia Pacific” Project (DKAP), supported by Korean Funds-In-Trust, will expand on the groundwork above by conducting a regional study to establish a baseline understanding of children’s safe, effective and responsible use of ICT. During this project, a Digital Citizenship Competency Framework (“Framework”) will be developed that accommodates the diverse nature of the Asia Pacific region and can be readily adoptable by ministries of education and/or educational institutions. In addition to the regional study's findings, research instruments and methodologies will be shared for adoption by interested organisations and governments.
The Project has already mapped the status of digital citizenship initiatives in the region and reviewed Asia-Pacific Member States' national policy responses with corresponding recommendations.
On 2-3 March 2017, we co-organized with Google Asia Pacific the Conference on Digital Citizenship Education in Bangkok, which brought together over 60 government officials, leading experts, researchers, key NGOs, educators, private organizations and other relevant stakeholders. As a result of the Conference, an initial Digital Citizenship Competency Framework for the Asia-Pacific region was drawn up by the participants after extensive experience sharing and discussions. You can find out more about this important development by reading the Conference Outcome Document.
On 24-26 July 2017, the Experts’ Meeting for the Asia-Pacific Regional Digital Citizenship Competency Framework (Framework) was conducted in Bangkok in partnership with Google Asia Pacific. The participants collaborated over an intensive three days to produce a refined Framework with domains, competencies and performance indicators. In the coming months, this Framework will be reviewed in consultation with countries in the region and be validated by the lead research team for this project.
ICT can provide a host of unprecedented opportunities and benefits: for children, youths and adults to learn, explore and create information and knowledge in a new way; to communicate, participate and collaborate across vast distances and other geographical obstacles; to share knowledge and experiences of a multitude of peoples and cultures; to document, record, publicize and advocate on a previously unimaginable scale, and more.
As with the rest of the world, young digital citizens in the Asia Pacific (AP) region have experienced the multitude of risks posed by ICT including cyberbullying, fake news, spamming, internet or technology addiction, health and wellness issues, identity theft, fraud and scams, pornography, and online sex trafficking. Policymakers' responses range from censorship or strict regulation of ICT use or Internet access, discounting the loss of opportunities afforded by the technology, to trying to understand the issues while advocating moderate use and access.
In view of these challenges, young digital citizens have highlighted the need to equip themselves – from early years and with ample support from those around them – with core competencies 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, and promoting opportunities to maximize benefits while managing risks to minimize harm.
After the successful conclusion of the Experts’ Meeting, we will consult with country representatives on the refined Framework at our Project Meeting in October 2017. These outputs will contribute to the validation of the Framework, development of assessment tools and preparations for data gathering in early 2018.