Save the Children is partnering with Facebook to deliver a campaign across the Pacific entitled, ‘I Am Digital’, specifically directed at issues that concern young people from local communities and where they are seeking reliable support.
Shairana Ali, CEO of Save the Children Fiji, said, “In the Pacific region, children with access to the internet and social media are often left unsupervised. There is an urgent need to educate and empower our children on digital safety.”
The ‘I Am Digital’ online safety campaign will run for five weeks.
It started on the 1st of February 2021, in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.
“Digital connectivity is transformative. It provides children and young people with opportunities to grow, learn, and connect. But it can also expose them to new threats. The 'I Am Digital' campaign empowers and supports children and young people to be safe online,” said Gerry Dyer, Regional Director Pacific for Save the Children.
A recent report on Online Safety in the Pacific stated that ‘with cable internet systems rolling out across the Pacific, access to affordable and fast digital connectivity in the region is set to rapidly expand, opening up unprecedented opportunities for children but also potentially exposing them to new risks of harm. Child online safety in the Pacific region thus stands at a critical juncture.’
“Being online is good fun but we also need to learn how to stay safe. Young people are being bullied and harassed on social media, particularly for girls, you can be targeted. All women and girls must be respected online,” said Damarish, a member of the PNG youth group.
A range of digital content including videos and interactive competitions are now available on the respective Facebook Pages for each country, to promote positive and respectful online experiences and encourage appropriate behaviour.
It also helps young people to better learn how to identify, avoid and address harmful content and activity.
In July 2020, Facebook established a Pacific Advisory Group to help shape the campaign.
The group is comprised of Government and youth representatives from the four countries along with non-profit representatives and academics with expertise in online safety and digital technology trends.
In addition, in PNG, Save the Children has been working with the youth to develop digital content that is being shared on Save the Children in Papua New Guinea’s Facebook page.
In their Focus groups, they have discussed tips they could give other young people keep safe online including;
- Always log out
- Have a strong password
- Never share your personal information online
- Do not click on unknown sites or links
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know
- Be respectful, positive and kind
- Never share information about someone else that you would not like being shared about you
- Be the change you want to see
- Keeping safe online is everyone’s responsibility
- Women and girls must be respected
- Bullying, harassment and abuse on and offline is never okay
- Talk to your friends, family, teacher, a trusted adult
- You can block, unfriend or ignore messages and friends requests
- Report it, speak out