Telefono Azzurro, 35 years on the children’s side (08/06/2022)

1987 was a symbolic year for children’s rights. “On June 8, a group of psychologists, lawyers, experts and activists decided to rent a small apartment in via Marsala in Bologna, where they can spend hours and hours re-contacting phone books filled with reports from children.” That’s how it is Ernesto Caffo, professor at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, recalls the birth of the foundation that has been imprinted in the collective imagination for the defense of children’s rights for 35 years. It was in the small Bolognese apartment that Caffo actually founded Telefono Azzurro, a reference point for children and young people in difficulty, at the forefront of defense and the promotion of a culture that respects and values ​​their potential.

To celebrate the anniversary on June 8, 2022, at the Center for American Studies in Rome, many experts and volunteers who in recent years have supported Telefono Azzurro’s listening, dialogue and constant intervention in defense of minors’ rights have accompanied them by hand. to date, in the online universe.

Help at the other end of the line

“In 1987, there was a greater tendency to talk about violence,” says Caffo, “today I feel the silence of public opinion about childhood. Children must always be at the center of our listening skills. 35 years ago, we inaugurated this speech on the basis of in a rented apartment in Bologna, and we immediately realized that the many inquiries received indicated a concrete problem “.

It’s a long time since the first iconic place, with the gray telephone and a child’s hands typing the numbers, since then among the topics Telefono Azzurro has touched on over the years there has been the fight against abuse, pedophilia, bullying and cyberbullying, up to support children affected by recent social tragedies, such as the war in Ukraine.

“The blue telephone entered a fundamental historical context while the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed, anticipated the debate and became a forerunner,” the former parliamentarian said. Silvia Costaco-founder of Telefono Azzurro and first vice president of the association (pictured, opening, speaking, ed).

Telefono Azzurro’s contribution to public opinion

The emergence of Telefono Azzurro has been a watershed, however, also in terms of information. “The contribution of Rai and Mediaset was fundamental, above all because it was thanks to the journalists that we were able to establish the Treviso Charter,” explains Caffo. The text today represents a cornerstone of professional ethics, with the aim of regulating the relationship between information and childhood.

“In the 1990s, Telefono Azzurro helped us break the pattern of corporatism and allowed Italian journalists to understand how the right of the press was not the only right that existed in the information world and could not be used as a club for its citizens.” , Narrator Roberto Nataletoday in the direction of “Rai per il social”.

Times go by, and over the course of 35 years, the risk of children moving from the cathode ray tube to the grid grows. “Unfortunately, today the child has become a prey in the metaverse,” he intervenes Guido Scorzamember of the guarantor of personal data protection, “minors do not know that to watch a cartoon they will give their data to the platforms, for this reason we ask that there is an absolute ban on exchanging children’s data online, because unknowingly it is as if they were sold out and became the trademark ”.

An appeal that also shows up in overexposing children to online risks. According to Ivano Gabrielli, director of the Post and Communications Police: “Today, young people spend an average of six to eight hours online, and we have registered + 130% of abused minors in 2020-2021, with 33% of inquiries online”. Often these enticements are translated as alienations from the family core. “Every day we receive about 30 reports of missing children,” he repeats Antonino BellaSpecial Commissioner for Missing Persons.

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