On 22nd November, UNICEF and Tirana Municipality inaugurated the fifth "friendly wi-fi" zone at Scanderbeg Square. “Friendly Wi-Fi” is a certification service, which originates from the UK, and ensures that internet content is filtered from illegal and pornographic materials. This novelty was brought to Albania by UNICEF as a result of its flagship program on children’s safety online and it aims to offer families and children with a more secure and more appropriate alternative to navigate the internet.
During the period of June-October 2019, since the certification of the first Friendly Wi-Fi spot on the Artificial Lake of Tirana, on average per month were blocked: 43,000 internet requests to access blacklisted or adult websites; 150 different blacklisted or adult websites; and 4,000 child sexual abuse and pornography content.
The event was greeted by Deputy Mayor of Tirana, Anisa Ruseti, “I’m very pleased that today thanks to Albtelecom, we have another safe internet access for children. Together with UNICEF we made possible Child Friendly Wi-Fi in the Scanderbeg square. We are committed to keep our children safe online for their social development and wellbeing and provide further assurance to parents that their children can navigate safely”.
In his remarks, Dr Roberto De Bernardi mentioned that Albtelecom, as one of the biggest private sector player in the ICT industry, is setting a new standard for social responsibility towards children’s protection and wellbeing. “We are ready to further discuss the possibility of expanding “Friendly Wi-Fi” to other public venues. Our work will continue to advance this initiative and build awareness and recognition on children’s online safety” concluded De Bernardi.
Tahsin Yilmaz, CEO of Albtelecom stated that, “We at ALBtelecom are very proud to have provided the Municipality and the citizens of Tirana with free Wi-Fi in two of the most popular areas of the city, such as Tirana Lake and Skanderbeg’s Square. Together with UNICEF we are offering child friendly Wi-Fi filters to protect children from harmful images as per the international standards”.
During the event, parents, teachers, teens, and children were introduced to how "Friendly Wi-Fi" works, by engaging them in test games and education quizzes. The citizens were invited to sign on the map of Tirana where they would have liked to place the next access point of "Friendly Wi-Fi", and the new boulevard, was selected to be the next area.
UNICEF, with the support of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, will continue expanding the “Friendly Wi-Fi” concept across the country and will actively engaging children and adolescents as the best change makers.