Islamabad: With more young people coming online every day across Pakistan, empowering them to navigate the digital world safely is not just a choice. It is a collective responsibility. To mark the National Children’s Day in Pakistan today, Zindagi Trust and Meta announced their collaboration with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), FIA, and the NCRC to launch a digital campaign promoting youth safety in digital spaces, “Cultivating Digital Competence of Youth and Parents”. It can feel overwhelming trying to navigate the ever-changing world of online safety with young people. But the most important thing is to start a dialogue, and keep open channels of communication. The founder of Zindagi Trust, Shehzad Roy shared that the main goal of this campaign is to start the dialogue and educate young people and their parents about online safety and the different ways they can report negative content such as online bullying, false information, hate speech, and spam. As part of conversations on online safety, safeguarding children on the internet, addressing their educational requirements, and encouraging positive interactions stand as paramount objectives for PTA. It is important for young people to understand that access to devices and the internet comes with a responsibility that extends not only to their own safety but also for the well-being of others in the online sphere. The commendable initiative by Zindagi Trust and Meta will help young people in cultivating online relationships in an environment where they feel safe. PTA supports this initiative, and recognizes its potential to significantly contribute to the overall online safety of young people. It is imperative to make online safety conversations part of everyday life – just like conversations about ‘stranger danger’ or crossing the road, and this should start early. Young people are often exposed to devices from birth – even just observing their parents, so it’s never too soon to talk about online safety. Imran Haider, Incharge, Unit To Counter Online Child Abuse, Cybercrime Wing of FIA explained that in today’s digital age, children are surrounded with a wide array of electronic gadgets, therefore, education and awareness play a crucial role in child protection by empowering children and families to identify and prevent child abuse. ONLINE
Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chairperson of NCRC shared the same message and expressed her hope that through this campaign, young people in Pakistan will be equipped with the tools and knowledge to navigate the digital world safely and responsibly.
The launch of the campaign was marked by a Roundtable Discussion, which discussed the importance of protecting young people in the digital age and curating informed individuals on cybercrime. Meta’s Director of Public Policy for South and Central Asia, Sarim Aziz, who attended the discussion, was excited about the campaign and stated that the company is committed to doing their part to protect young people on and off their apps and will continue to collaborate with our various stakeholders, industry safety partners, and law enforcement to keep young people safe online.
This collaborative digital campaign will also include video messages from students who talk about the safety tools like Privacy Check Up, Locked Profile, Hidden Words, Supervision Tools and managing false information.