“With the marked increase in time spent on the internet by youth during the pandemic, there is a clear need to better equip youth with ways and methods to protect themselves online. It is crucial that awareness, training on online bullying and building digital resilience be a multi-stakeholder exercise. This should not be left just to educational institutions but should also involve parents and caregivers,” said Manisha Dogra, VP, Sustainability for Telenor in Asia.
“While companies such as Telenor already play an active role in Online Safety initiatives, results can be amplified even more with collaborative participation, in partnerships with governments, civil society and academia.”
Given the importance of this topic for youth, and the heightened intensity of online bullying since the pandemic, youths were eager for more training and guidance on how to deal with online bullying on social media apps (56 percent), how to protect their privacy online (46 percent) and how to improve their mental health and wellbeing (43 percent). Additionally, the respondents were interested in protecting themselves from online bullies on messaging apps (40 percent) and dealing with online bullying during gaming and streaming video games (37 percent).
“The Internet brings people together and provides critical access to information. But as this survey show, navigating the digital landscape can also be challenging. Plan International’s research additionally shows that girls and young women in Asia often experience harassment and abuse when they go online. This can drive them offline which silences their voices and restricts their opportunities. Bridging the digital gap is necessary to advance gender equality. To accomplish this, there is a clear need to invest in digital literacy for girls, youth, and their families,” said Krista Zimmerman, Director of Influencing and Programs, Plan International Asia-Pacific.