UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) is calling for a worldwide network of `cyber mums' as a result of the conference -- Sexual abuse, Child Pornography and Paedophilia on the Internet -- held in Paris in January.
UNESCO official Carlos Arnaldo believes educating parents is the key to making the Internet safer. "Mothers are the first point of contact with kids. If a child comes across pornography on the Internet, often the parent will have no idea what to do. Mothers have to get educated. They have no choice," Arnaldo said. To make the Internet "porn free" is impossible, but by rekindling dialogue between parents and children, it can at least be made safer, Arnaldo believes.
This is one of several recommendations to come out of the international conference which involved 300 participants from 40 countries. UNESCO is also calling for the setting up of an international Web site for victims of Internet paedophilia. Arnaldo envisages a cyber version of Childline where children can go online to get advice. "Such a Web site would allow children to ask in their own language, either by phone or e-mail the questions important to them," Arnaldo said. UNESCO also wants to set up an international hotline for the reporting of illegal Web sites.
The organisation stopped short of advocating international law relating to porn and paedophilia. Arnaldo pointed to the failure of the COPA law as a test case. "The government put the law up and its own court knocks it down," he said. He believes the Internet would not benefit from the burden of legislation. Instead he is keen to see international agreement on the issue, starting with a multi-language glossary of terms. "There needs to be a clearer definition of what a paedophile is, what constitutes child abuse on the Internet and what difference there is between adult and child pornography," said Arnaldo.
UNESCO is hoping to stage a fundraising event to highlight the issues of child pornography on the Net in Paris in September 1999. Funding for the event is currently under discussion.
Today sees the start of Part 2 in our Web of Porn News Special. ZDNet reports on the efforts of parents, police and governments to stop paedophiles operating on the Net. Take me to the Web of Porn Special