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“Digital citizenship and cybercrime prevention" Educational Project in Guatemala

Guatemala, March 25, 2021. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean (UNODC ROPAN), through its office in Guatemala, together with the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), through the Global Cybercrime Program launch the educational project "Digital citizenship and cybercrime prevention" with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Internet-facilitated crimes have increased in modalities such as cyber fraud, extortion or online child sexual abuse. Cybercriminals have evolved their modes of operation to exploit social, legal and psychological vulnerabilities.

School-age children and adolescents are making prolonged use of the Internet, which increases the possibility of becoming victims of cybercrime. Given this situation, the educational project "Digital citizenship and cybercrime prevention" has been launched, an initiative that aims to ensure that children, young people and adults fully enjoy the benefits of the Internet and reduce its risks, in alliance with MINEDUC.

During the ceremony, Claudia Ruiz, Minister of Education, said that "the Ministry of Education, the teaching and administrative staff are committed to ensuring the comprehensive education of students. This is an opportunity to leave a more solid educational system and, above all, in better conditions to serve the student population".

Nayelly Loya, Head of the UNODC Global Programme on Cybercrime, said "we congratulate the Ministry of Education of Guatemala and the vision of its authorities for the launch of this important project that will have as direct beneficiaries millions of Guatemalan students, technicians and teachers". He added that these actions will have a multiplying effect in the family nucleus and in the virtual circle of friends, where children and adolescents will surely act as agents of change not only in the physical space, but also in the virtual one.

Luisa Fernandez, Officer in charge and in charge of UNODC programs in Guatemala, said that "we are facing a moment in which physical spaces are not the only ones that must be protected, now the virtual space must also be protected. This poses a great challenge, especially with citizens, so we must encourage a responsible use of the Internet and make them aware of the risks to which they are exposed".

The educational project "Digital citizenship and cybercrime prevention" involves the implementation of different methodological resources according to the stages of psychosocial development of students. From playfulness, art, audiovisual media, storytelling, the play "The faces of cybercrime", guides for the prevention of gender-based cyber violence and guides for positive cyber coexistence. All these efforts will be carried out in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, and with the more than 40 thousand teachers nationwide that are planned to be trained on the subject.

These actions are carried out within the framework of the project "Strengthening the capacities of justice and security sector institutions in Central America for the prevention, identification and criminal prosecution of cybercrime, transnational organized crime and related cases through digital evidence: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize" funded by the Government of Canada.