500mil kids going online in emerging Asia, need for more safety

  • Telenor says has long experience in educating children about the Internet via outreach programmes
  • Aims to make use of knowledge developed in these markets to launch similar initiatives elsewhere
500mil kids going online in emerging Asia, need for more safety

WITH an overwhelming 500 million children in its emerging Asia markets expected to be accessing the Internet for the first time via mobile in the coming decade, the Telenor Group is urging for a greater priority on safety.
Within the next three years alone, Telenor expects up to 85 million children will be introduced to the Internet via mobile in its global markets, the company said in a statement.
In celebration of global Safer Internet Day on Feb 11, Telenor Group said it was lending its voice to “create a better Internet together.”
“Telenor came to Asia two decades ago with a fundamental belief that mobile is for everyone. Now, the mass market is moving towards mobile Internet and we are determined to bring the ‘Internet for All’,” said Sigve Brekke, executive vice-president and head of Telenor’s Asian operations, and chairman of DiGi.
“Mobile and data connectivity brings tremendous opportunities to people, business and societies, especially for youth who can connect, learn and avail [themselves of] services unimaginable only a few years back,” he added.
500mil kids going online in emerging Asia, need for more safetyBrekke said that the opportunities of the Internet do not come without risks. Current data from the Boston Consulting Group on Internet use among children shows that 8% may have unknowingly subscribed to commercial services; one in 10 have potentially been subject to personal data misuse; one in five have been potentially exposed to harmful content; and half of underage users may have been exposed to cyberbullying (click infographic to enlarge) .
The largest survey in Malaysia, polling the views of almost 10,000 schoolchildren from 460 schools nationwide on Internet safety as part of the ‘DiGi CyberSAFE in Schools’ workshops last year, revealed that about 68% of school children have access to the Internet at home.
Of this, a significant number of them spend an average of eight hours a week on the Internet and 68% used it primarily for social networking. More than half claimed that they were first introduced to the Internet by their family members.
Statistics also revealed that 27% of students have been bullied online while 13% of students said they are still being bullied online today. The survey also recorded 49% of students saying they know of someone who has been bullied online.

“As we connect Asia, it’s important that we do so safely and responsibly – particularly for first-time users and children,” said Ola Jo Tandre, Telenor’s director of Corporate Responsibility.
Telenor said it has long experience in educating children about the Internet from successful outreach programmes in Norway, Malaysia, Serbia, Sweden and Montenegro. It aims to take advantage of the knowledge it has developed with other players in these markets to launch similar initiatives in more Telenor markets – particularly in Asia – going forward.

Telenor said it was also the first mobile provider in the world to collaborate with Interpol to create a mobile Internet filter for child sexual abuse content.
It has filters in place in all but one of its European business units, and in Bangladesh and Pakistan. The rest of the business units in Asia are currently developing programmes to follow through in the coming months.
Safer ‘Internet for All’

DiGi’s CyberSAFE in Schools – a public-private partnership launched three years ago in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, CyberSecurity Malaysia and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission – has reached out to 22,000 students, teachers and parents from over 700 schools and 14 rural Internet centres nationwide through interactive workshops to step up education on cyber safety.
These workshops, combined with booklets, continue to help empower Malaysian students to keep themselves safe online and nurture a family-friendly surfing experience that allows them to enjoy the convenience and far-reaching benefits of the Internet, DiGi said.
Related Stories:
Cybersafety: Malaysian schoolkids know ‘why’ but not ‘how’
1-in-3 Malaysian kids victims of cyber-bullying: Microsoft survey
DiGi’s Internet for All: From ad campaign to corporate mission
Aware of risks, Malaysians persist with bad online habits: Survey
The most dangerous virtual playground for kids: Social networks, and porn
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