The network created by Red PaPaz seeks to promote skills for the protection of Colombian children and adolescents’ rights, through relevant actions based upon evidence and good practices.
This has made Red PaPaz a national and international reference in the area of children and adolescents’ rights protection, working around seven topics:
- Family – school partnerships and protective environments
- Healthy lifestyles
- Online safety
- Socioemotional and physical development
- Education for peaceful coexistence
- Inclusion and diversity
For each of these topics, Red PaPaz has built a technical team and a network of experts and relevant partners for strengthening the ecosystem that protects children and adolescents in Colombia.
Regarding the topic of “Online safety”, in 2012, Red PaPaz, along with the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, the Ministry of Technology and Communications, el Foro de Generaciones Interactivas (from Spain) and two of the largest Internet Service Providers in Colombia (Telefónica Movistar and Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá) launched Te Protejo, the first hotline in the country to report situations that affect children in digital and physical environments.
Illustration – Te Protejo banner © Red PaPaz
From its beginning, “Te Protejo”, has been administrated by Red PaPaz and it has been working articulately with local authorities in compliance with Colombian legislation to protect children. In 2016, Te Protejo became the first hotline of the INHOPE Foundation, and later it became an official member of this network.
Since 2012, Te Protejo has received 90,864 reports, of which 75 per cent are related to the digital environment, on topics like child sexual exploitation material (CSEM), cyberbullying, grooming, sextortion, bullying, among others. During 2020, reports related to the digital environment accounted for 92 per cent of total reports, thus demonstrating an immediate need for Colombia and Latin America to start strengthening the child protection ecosystem in the region.
Internet has no boundaries and with the pandemic, it has spread to all areas of our lives, especially for children and adolescents who have been attending classes ton digital platforms and rely on digital devices as their sole source of entertainment while parents work from home.
Faced with an urgent need for a safer internet for children and young people, and based on Te Protejo and Red PaPaz experiences and the lessons learnt in the SIC+ programme led by INHOPE and Insafe, Red PaPaz decided to call upon to all stakeholders to join efforts to build a better internet for children, not only at a local level but also at a regional level.
Since Red PaPaz had started designing and implementing the first Spanish-speaking Safer Internet Centre in Latin America and supporting other Latin American countries to develop their own hotlines, the team was fully aware and not at all surprised to find out that governments, authorities, industry, civil society, the media, and even youth initiatives play a key role in creating a safer internet for children and adolescents, especially in the middle of a pandemic – but these various stakeholders have not been articulating their efforts or working together towards this goal.
With this in mind, Red PaPaz wanted to emphasise the co-responsibility needed to build a safer internet for children and young people in Colombia and in Latin America, and therefore prepared a range of specific, tailor-made messages for each audience, namely young people; parents and caregivers; teachers and educators; media representatives; civil society organisations; policy makers; tech companies; and internet service providers.
Based on the WeProtect Model and on Red PaPaz and Te Protejo’s experience, Red PaPaz identified the main actions that each of these actors should implement in order to contribute to a safer internet. These messages will be shared and promoted throughout the month of February 2021, for Safer Internet Day, through different channels, such as newsletters, traditional and media social as well as through direct channels with schools, parents, and educators, presenting guidelines and tools on how to keep children safe on the internet, as well as the importance of reporting situations that affect children online using Te Protejo.