Telenor Pakistan and UNICEF partner to strengthen Child Online Protection

Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Telenor Pakistan and UNICEF have partnered to scale the Child Online Protection agenda in Pakistan through their joint digital initiative, ‘Strengthening Child Online Protection for Children and Young People in Pakistan’. The program promotes safe and responsible internet usage among children, caregivers and educators through awareness and capacity-building efforts.

In addition to promoting safe internet usage, the program will support the government by developing localised policies and regulatory frameworks for the masses on child safety online. In the next three years, Telenor Pakistan and UNICEF will train 750,000 children, caregivers, and educators through a hybrid training module. They also plan to engage with key stakeholders for creating a suitable legal and policy environment with an evidence-based, consultative, and coordinated approach towards children and young people’s protection in the digital world.

At the partnership signing ceremony, Kamal Ahmed, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Telenor Pakistan, said, “Increased access to digital platforms brings progress to the society but raises safety concerns for children. Digital skills and online safety is a collective responsibility. Through this partnership with UNICEF, Telenor Pakistan will continue promoting digital inclusion, online safety, and new skillset to help young people navigate a connected world. Our ambition is to build the capacity and enable children, educators and caregivers to adopt measures for online protection.”

The rapid digital acceleration in recent years has fundamentally sped up the course of technological innovation, bringing with it innumerable benefits and some undesirable risks. With one in three internet users today being children, there needs to be a clearer focus on the child protection landscape. More than 30% of young people in 30 countries reported being cyberbullied, with one in five even skipping school.

Zainab Hussain Siddiqui, VP Sustainability Health Safety and Environment, Supply Chain Sustainability and Partnership, Telenor said, “Telenor Group’s global partnership with UNICEF plays a key role in realising on our ambition of empowering societies by promoting digital inclusion, increasing connectivity, and building skills for a digital future for children and young people.”

 “The internet today is a fundamental part of the lives of children and young people, increasingly thinning the line between the digital and physical worlds. Protection of young people is a global challenge that is constantly evolving due to the rapid advancements in technology and society. Thanks to initiatives like these, it is possible to build safe, age-appropriate digital environments for children and young people in Pakistan,” she added.

Through their previous collaboration, Telenor Pakistan and UNICEF successfully brought 2.5 million children across Pakistan the right to identity through their Digital Birth Registration program. With this new partnership, the two organisations hope to continue to provide young people with the knowledge to protect themselves from online risks.