Mexico’s Internet Association Initiative for Youth Cybersecurity
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Mexico’s Internet Association Initiative for Youth Cybersecurity

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Cinthya Alaniz Salazar By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 02/08/2023 - 15:18

Mexico lacks the legislative harmonization, regulatory framework and standardized obligations to protect minors from cybervictimization, reports a public-private study commissioned by the Internet Association of Mexico and Senate Commission for Science and Technology. As Mexico’s internet penetration continues to grow exponentially, addressing this outstanding public safety issue is paramount to circumventing harmful, antisocial and or criminal acts towards minors. 

“We are facing a truly critical situation: safeguarding minors' internet safety as technology becomes the central priority of Mexico’s national digital agenda. This social problem forces us to redouble our efforts. Now, with this study, we have a clear roadmap regarding what should be included in drafting a new legal framework that helps protect minors,” says Julio Vega, General Director, Internet Association of Mexico (AIMX).

In Mexico, roughly 50% of children between the age of 6 and 11 are internet or computer users. A usage rate that jumps considerably as children reach adolescence, ballooning to an estimated range between 80% and 94%, according to UNICEF Mexico. This has effectively increased children's exposure to a largely unregulated digital landscape, resulting in 25% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 to experience cyberbullying, according to national surveys. Furthermore, federal authorities have noticed a significant increase in digital crimes, internet violence and child pornography dissemination during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To efficiently circumvent the risk to children's development, mental health and personal integrity on the internet, the study analyzed existing legislative instruments, public-private industry actions and political platforms. Overall, the study identified various areas of opportunity including the importance of extrapolating recommendations from data from federal reporting agencies like INEGI, SIPINNA and CONEVAL. This will require a standardization of data collection and categorization of statistical information and cyber incident registration across all agencies, suggests the report. 

Secondary to this, the study identified a greater need for legislative harmonization and a regulatory framework with explicit language defining criminal offenses or cybercrimes committed against children. By extension, this framework should be accompanied by the formal institution of state obligations for the creation of public policies for the prevention, combat and attention to cybervictimization. To guide this process, AIMX proposed the creation of a special program for the Cybersecurity of Minors (NNA) to guarantee that: 

“...information and communication technologies and the internet constitute a means for girls, boys and adolescents to access education, culture, entertainment and information without arbitrary interference and in safe conditions,” reads a press release by AIMX. 

The commission emphasized the urgency and co-responsibility of improving increased coordination across state, social and private sectors to effectively tackle this issue both outside and inside private homes.


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