Super Junior's Siwon, currently serving as UNICEF's regional ambassador for East Asia and Pacific, attended the '2021 World Knowledge Forum' on September 16 and spoke during a session titled, 'UNICEF 75th Anniversary - Protecting Children in an Online Environment'.
During his speech, Siwon stated, "In times such as these when the lives of children all over the world have been moved to an online space due to the impact of COVID-19, my primary concern lies in the kinds of environments that these children are currently being exposed to. These circumstances may differ region by region, but in some countries, internet usage has gone up by as much as 50%. The types of risks that children can face within an online space are more varied and more dangerous."
Siwon continued, "According to UNICEF Korea, the greatest risk children faced within the online space was exposure to harmful content. 19% of children responded that they were exposed to harmful content online and felt discomfort because of it. Such harmful content can include false news, inappropriate data collection and usage, malicious online attacks and cyber bullying, anonymous lewd messages, sexual crimes, etc. Despite the prevalence of so many risks, children have not been properly educated on how to respond by reporting such occurrences. An update to policies which better protect our children in the internet space is imperative. We must create online platforms which children can navigate comfortably and securely, and also provide a guide on how children can safely explore the online space in terms that they can easily understand."
Finally, Siwon relayed, "The problem of assessing whether the online space is a healthy space for children of the world is a responsibility which falls on the adults. I genuinely hope that after today, there will be a significant increase in efforts by all generations to solve the problem of putting our children at risk within the online environment."