Education dept in campaign for online safety
The Department of Education (DepEd) has launched a campaign that aims to educate parents, teachers and the school community on how children can be safe online, in collaboration with Stairway Foundation and the Internet and Mobile Marketing Associations of the Philippines (IMMAP).
The campaign dubbed #BeCyberSafe consists of three components — Project for Keeps, Dalir-Eskwela, and Chatbot.
Project for Keeps is a social media movement created to empower children, with the help of their guardians, to take control of their online profiles, and keep themselves safe from online strangers and predators.
Coined from the words daliri (finger) and eskwela (school), Dalir-Eskwela offers a range of educational materials including videos, brochures, and posters that discuss cybersafety, cyberbullying, online chatting, gaming, and pornography. Chatbot is a social media page with a messaging feature which will be used as a helpline where child protection issues faced in the cyberspace may be reported and addressed.
“The launching of this programme is certainly very welcome because we are now recognising that harm can be inflicted not only in physical ways, not only by the destruction of our infrastructure and our facilities, the books that we read, what we teach our children, but also through cyberspace,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.
“We extend our gratitude to our partners for helping us ensure the best interest of our learners,” she added.
“The Child Protection Policy of DepEd aims to nurture learners in a safe environment not only in the physical sphere, but also the cyberspace. In this digital age when children socialise and spend considerable time online, DepEd recognises that their right to protection against violence and abuse should also be realised online,” DepEd Undersecretary Josephine Maribojoc said.
“A child in the cyber world is a whole person with dignity, as much as a child in the physical world. Let us respect and protect each one of them, wherever they may be,” she added.
The Philippines has 67mn Internet users.
“Every Filipino who uses the Internet is also possibly using social media. Across the region, the Philippines has the very peculiar situation. In many countries, the social media penetration rate is much lower than the Internet penetration, and the Philippines is in this special situation right now,” Ysrael Diloy, Senior Advocacy Officer of Stairway Foundation, said.
Citing recent studies conducted by Stairway Foundation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Diloy said around 43.8% or almost half of the respondents aged 13-18 have experienced cyber violence.“One of the very alarming aspect of this is in the context of social abuse online, in particular, having being sent sexual messages and having their sexual activities shown online,” he said.Diloy said a survey conducted by Stairway in 2015 showed that three out of 10 children chatted with strangers online.
“We are in the world right now where children use technology but in a risky manner. Technology is being used to exploit children and, unfortunately, we are in a world where adults and children use the same platform. We all have the same smartphone devices but we use it differently. There is a cultural detachment in technology and online safety. When we started online safety in 2007, our main messaging is that don’t talk to strangers online,” he added.
The IMMAP said children should be protected from social media violence.
“While our core mission revolves around advancing digital marketing, IMMAP believes that we need to nurture and support the overall digital ecosystem in the country,” Karen Alba-Alday, IMMAP’s Advocacy Committee Head, said.
“We need to create a better and safer Internet in every Filipino. We are committed to educate all Filipinos on their safety,” she added.