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An employee works near screens in the virus lab at the headquarters of Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Labs in Moscow, July 29, 2013. VOA

UNICEF on Tuesday called for global concerted action to prevent online violence, cyberbullying and digital harassment for over 70 per cent of children and young people online.

The call, made on Safer Internet Day, comes following a recent United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) poll of young people, which received more than a million responses over five weeks from more than 160 countries, and suggestions from a series of student-led #ENDviolence Youth Talks held around the world.


“We’ve heard from children and young people from around the globe and what they are saying is clear: The Internet has become a kindness desert,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

That’s why, she said, UNICEF is inviting everyone, young and old, to be kind online, and calling for greater action to make the Internet a safer place for everyone.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), while 94 per cent of young people, aged 15-24 in developed countries are online, more than 65 per cent of young people in developing countries are online. This is well ahead of the pace of Internet usage among the general population. Worldwide, half of the total population, regardless of age, is online.


A specialist works at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., Sept. 9, 2014. (VOA)

“This online proliferation comes with increased risk,” Fore said. According to data from UNESCO on the prevalence of cyberbullying in high-income countries, the proportion of children and adolescents who are affected by cyberbullying ranges from 5 per cent to 21 per cent, with girls appearing to be more likely to experience cyberbullying than boys.

Cyberbullying can cause profound harm as it can quickly reach a wide audience, and can remain accessible online indefinitely, virtually following its victims online for life. Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to use alcohol and drugs and skip school than other students. In extreme situations, cyberbullying has led to suicide.

In honour of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF also called for renewed urgency and cooperation to put children’s rights at the forefront of digital efforts.

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As part of this, it is implementing programmes to leverage the internet’s promise of connectivity and education on behalf of the world’s children.

“Thirty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the creation of the World Wide Web, it is time for governments, families, academia and the private sector to put children and young people at the centre of digital policies,” said Fore. (IANS)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

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Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

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