Save the Children and Meta, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, have launched phase 3 of the I Am Digital online safety programme at the VX Cinema on the 10th of March 2023. The initiative is currently being rolled out into seven Pacific Island countries; Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
I Am Digital is a digital literacy and safety initiative which aims to deliver educational information on Online Safety. It is to empower Pacific Islands teenagers, youth and parents on how to have safer and more positive online experiences. The pilot phase 2 of I Am Digital ran for five weeks and during that time, reached 7.1 million people and was viewed 12.65 million times on Facebook alone.
A new, expanded phase of the I Am Digital social media campaign launched today, as the campaign shares a series of educational fact sheets, videos, quick tips and advice addressing media literacy, scam prevention, reporting mechanisms and safety topics, including account security, communicating respectfully.
Two new topics has also been added to the suite of I Am Digital resources, being media literate and Spotting and Avoiding Online Scams. These resources have been developed in consultation with SCF’s focus group members aged between 13 and 17years, including the Rainbow Pride Foundation, Fiji Vocational Technical Training Centre for Persons with Disability, Plan International, Online Safety Commission, Cybercrime Unit, Fiji Police Force and the Ministry of Education.
Incorporating the feedback received from phase 2 into the project design of phase 3, hardcopies of the online quick tips and factsheets have been printed into posters and booklets and these educational materials has been distributed to 4 schools in the central division and will continue to be delivered to schools in the west in weeks to come, enabling students’ greater access to Online Safety educational materials, even those students and schools with limited or no internet access.
Since its inception, the development of I Am Digital has been shaped and guided by a Pacific Islands Advisory Group established by Save the Children and Meta in mid-2020, comprising government and youth representatives from the region, as well as child and online safety experts.
The Acting Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, who is also the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Honorable Atonio Rabici Lalabalavu said, “The campaign is timely in that it will empower and protect those who are vulnerable and at risk of being scammed online, as the scams are real and number of scammers and scam programs and messages on social media platforms continue to rise. I am sure, we have come across a scam message when we were last online, or know of someone who have been a victim of online scamming. People have lost an exorbitant amount of their hard earn money and savings through scams.”
The Hon. Lalabalavu further expressed, “The “I AM DIGITAL – PHASE 3” project is particularly important because it promotes online safety for children in schools. I acknowledge and thank the Ministry of Education for their support allowing Save the Children to pilot the program in selected schools in Fiji. I commend the various partners, Save the Children, Ministry of Education, the Project schools, and Meta for coming together and forming this partnership to address this concerning issue that our children and young people face on social media platforms.”
Shairana Ali, CEO of Save the Children Fiji said:” The I AM Digital online safety campaign has come a long way since Save the Children first began working in partnership with Meta back in 2020. You will hear about our journey later on in the program but I wanted to mention that over the past several years, we have collectively delivered safety messages to over 966342 individuals. The campaign has helped protect many vulnerable community members and young people from the dangers of the digital world and educated and empowered them to become responsible digital citizens. This in itself is a remarkable achievement and is very much aligned with Save the Children’s global ambition for children that states and I quote; ‘that by the year 2030, children are protected and violence against children is no longer tolerated’. Save the Children Fiji’s 2022 2024 strategy has a key goal on Child Protection and aims to ensure that all children in Fiji live lives which are free from all forms of exploitation, abuse and violence including the risks posed by the modern social media platforms. Our strategy for the Pacific also calls on protecting children.’’
Mr. Nick McDonnell, Meta’s Head of Public Policy for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands said, “To develop this initiative, our mission from our team when we particularly focus on the Pacific and particularly focus on our work and Fiji and other countries across the region is really to work to create safe, connected, resilient and empowered communities. And we do that through a number of different areas. Online safety is our key. Across the region, particularly coming out of COVID and connecting again with the world, but it’s just really to give you an example of how we look at our relationship across the region as multifaceted, but online safety is our particular focus today and it dominates most of our work across the region.”
Mrs. Cheryl Seeto, the Head of Policy Programs, Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands at Meta said, “I Am Digital is such an important initiative for us at Meta given our focus on online safety for the Pacific islands region and it’s a project that we’ve really shaped and developed from the very beginning with Save the Children also with young people and with organizations locally across Pacific Island countries. “
“I’d really like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Government of Fiji and particularly their Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and the Ministry of Education for your support and your openness to the I Am digital program and in bringing its educational resources into schools in Fiji. We really welcome your feedback on the relevance and usefulness of this pilot initiative for young people in Fiji and hope that it can continue to be successful and that we will have the opportunity to expand the school visits into other countries in the future.”
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The I Am Digital fact sheets, including the online safety quick tips and advice, have been delivered in English as well as 7 other languages: Bislama, Fijian-Itaukei, Fijian Hindi, Kiribati, Samoan, Tok Pisin and Tongan.
The complete set of I Am Digital educational resources, including language translations, will be permanently housed and accessed free of charge at the following link: I Am Digital Archive – We Think Digital – Pacific Islands (fb.com)