Ursuline TeenAngel Laina Campos '19 superbly represented our school and presented important perspectives at the United Nations in March 2019. Laina was a panelist at the UN Roundtable "Driving digital inclusion - What does it mean and what is working?" The event was sponsored by ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies.
Hosted by the Ambassador of Montenegro, the roundtable brought together experts to assist as the UN explores innovative approaches that drive digital inclusion in support of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are an urgent call for action by all countries as they recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. Digital Inclusion refers to steps that ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of information and communication technologies, including support and training.
Laina was chosen as a panel member based on her extensive experience over the past 5 years as a TeenAngel, which means she has been trained to assist peers in understanding the world of online safety, security and privacy as well as teaching methods to avoid dangers while using the internet. Panelists were asked to give their definition of what digital inclusion is and then asked what is working and what is not.
Laina stated, “As more and more people are included in the digital world, my main concern is that people use it in a safe and secure way . . . Since young people have access to technology, it is important that they are aware that their actions online can deeply affect the bright futures that they have ahead of them.”
Laina raised four main points:
- There is a lot of fake news out there. We want to make sure that people who use the technology know the difference between real news versus fake news. We seem to live in a world where we need to make the decision of what’s true and what’s not. We tend to never know the point of view when it comes to the internet.
- We need to make sure that young people, especially those who are special in some way, feel safe and included when they are engaged in digital use.
- We need to make sure that English isn’t the only language on the internet since not everyone speaks English. We need to make sure that good ideas flow across language whatever they may be. We want to emphasize that the digital world is truly global.
- As more and more people are included and gain access to the internet, we want to make sure that they are safe and understand the pitfalls of the internet, including the potential to be a platform for cyberbullying and for real inappropriate behavior like sexting.
The Ursuline School chapter of TeenAngels began 13 years ago under the direction of Ms. Parry Aftab, Executive Director of WiredSafety.org, the world's largest online safety and help organization and a 501(c)(3) corporation. TeenAngels are volunteers who have been specially trained in all aspects of online safety, privacy and security. Once trained, TeenAngels speak to students and parents to promote Internet safety and cyberbullying awareness and prevention.