Harrow schoolgirl MEERA KOTAK was one of the delegates chosen to represent London at an international conference on internet safety.Here she reports on the experience
ONLINE safety and security is the concern of many young people, adults and organisations around the world, and the International Youth Advisory Congress (IYAC) saw to the unification of these minds at an event held from July 17 to 21 in Surrey and London.
The two main organisations behind the conference were the Child Exploitation and Online Protection
Centre (CEOP), a UK organisation to tackle and eliminate the sexual abuse of children, and the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), which aims to combat the sexual exploitation of children.
The 'CEOP-led, VGT initiative' brought together 150 delegates aged between 14 and 17 from around the world to represent their countries in the first-ever law enforcement-backed global youth advisory congress on child safety and security on the internet. Representatives from across Europe, US, Australia, Canada, Africa and Asia were invited to participate in what could change the lives of many, and Harrow was the borough chosen to represent London.
The first day of the IYAC was in Westminster, and was more of a social and introductory day for us to understand what we were doing and to get to know the 149 other young people we were to be working with.
To highlight the importance of IYAC's aims, Prince Edward and teen band McFly were invited to talk to us.
The discussions and lectures started from July 18 onwards from companies such as Microsoft, Visa and Becta to help us form A Children and Young People's Global Online Charter that will be presented to the United Nations as part of the 2008 Resolution of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The energy and zest to make a change to internet safety shown by the team leaders and delegates was inspirational as so much dedication was given for our protection.
On the last day of the congress, we were able to make a formal presentation to associates from major global companies such as Virgin, MySpace and Bebo on how we think they could help us achieve our aim further.
I feel extremely privileged to have taken part in the first-ever IYAC event, where I met a fantastic group of people from around the world, and was able to voice my thoughts to help change our generation's future.