Asia and the Pacific has been going through a fundamental transformation induced by digital technology and connectivity. The region has been a driving force of such digital transformation - be it artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, cloud computing or blockchain.
The waves of information and communications technology (ICT) development in the Pacific subregion are so enormous that they cannot be ignored. A decade ago, no one could have imagined the rapid ICT progress and changes experienced today in the Pacific subregion. No one would have thought that it was possible for Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, and even Yap and Palau to be connected by submarine cables. What’s more, plans are underway to connect the small and remote islands of Tokelau and Tuvalu to submarine cables.
Despite rapid technological advancements reported in some of the member countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), rural schools in developing countries are left largely unconnected and under-resourced. The slow progress poses two challenges.
Infrastructure underpins core economic activity and is an essential foundation for achieving inclusive and sustainable economic and social growth as it enhances access to services, education and work opportunities. Yet the world in which we live is fundamentally unequal. It is designed, built and maintained without considering the needs of all members of our society, including the most vulnerable. Gender-blind infrastructure often empowers men but impedes women and girls’ ability to contribute equally in society.
The Internet plays a central role in developing and augmenting the capacities of the youth. However, use of the Internet also entails new risks regarding their safety and protection both in the physical and virtual worlds. Therefore, it is important to understand how to implement appropriate measures and enhance their effectiveness rather than quick-fix interventions to limit children’s online access which can cause a loss of benefits the Internet can deliver. However, there has been only limited research on child online safety measures in Asia and the Pacific.