February 29, 2024

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Indonesia’s Commitment to Child Safety in the Digital Age

In the digital realm, children encounter an abundance of online information and content. In light of this, Nezar Patria, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), emphasises the critical need for collective action among stakeholders to protect children from online risks and thwart digital predators’ attempts.

Image adapted from InfoPublik

Since 2009, Indonesia has embraced the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) guidelines for safeguarding children in the online environment, with updates made in 2020. The guide is directed at four groups: children, parents/guardians/educators, industry, and policymakers.

These guidelines can be used to establish secure, participatory, inclusive, and age-appropriate digital environments for children, Patria stated during the opening of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Public Discussion Series in South Jakarta.

There are numerous threats that exist in the online realm concerning children’s internet usage, including exposure to negative content, cyberbullying, and data leakage. UNICEF data reveals that this year, there will be 175,000 new child internet users every day, equating to one child joining the online community every second. In Indonesia alone, a staggering 30 million use the internet.

Patria stressed the crucial role of AI, emphasising the importance of implementing automatic content filters and moderation to counteract negative content. AI can be used to detect cyberbullying through security measures and by recognising the patterns of cyberbullying perpetrators. It can also identify perpetrators of online violence through behavioral detection in the digital space as well as enhance security and privacy protection. Moreover, AI can assist parents in monitoring screen time, ensuring that children maintain a balanced and healthy level of engagement with digital devices.

Conversely, the presence of generative AI technology, such as deepfake, enables the manipulation of photo or video content, potentially leading to the creation of harmful material with children as victims. Patria urged collaborative discussions among all stakeholders involved in related matters to harness AI technology for the advancement and well-being of children in Indonesia.

He highlighted UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, emphasising it as a reference for safeguarding children in the digital realm. According to him, this recommendation includes discussions on the implications of AI use on children and outlines how AI governance can uphold the fundamental rights of children.

The upcoming generation, having been exposed to AI from an early age, is poised to become highly active AI users in the next 10-15 years. Hence, it is important to engage all stakeholders in crafting guidelines and addressing the potential adverse effects of AI on children.

Many countries worldwide share these concerns regarding the development of AI. Nearly every country is actively seeking ways to mitigate the risks associated with AI use, particularly concerning children. Various initiatives have been introduced to raise awareness about potential online dangers for children. “In fact, ITU and the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) from Saudi Arabia launched the Creating a Safe and Prosperous Cyberspace for Children Programme in 2020 which has two pillars, namely capacity building and policy support,” Patria explained.

Furthermore, in Vietnam, the government has held several press conferences calling for parents to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring what their children have access to online. It has encouraged parents to follow Vietnam’s principles of conduct in the network environment and ensure that their children only use applications specifically designed for them.

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