Bank’s lessons in cyber safety for 1,000 youths, teachers

SMK Berapit, Bukit Mertajam students are all ears as they are taught about cyber violence and how to protect themselves against it.

WHEN the Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) needed support to run programmes on cyber safety to benefit youths, it turned to OCBC Bank Malaysia Bhd (OCBC) with whom it partnered last year.

Last year, the bank, through its chief executive officer Datuk Ong Eng Bin, sponsored the most-accessed “Issues” section of the WCC website for abused women and children –

This year, OCBC contributed RM15,560, in support of WCC’s work in cyber safety, by sponsoring the education of 1,000 secondary school students and school counsellors in preventing cyber violence among youths.

Since 1985, WCC, a non-profit organisation, has helped more than 150,000 women and children particularly in domestic violence and sexual abuse.

WCC executive director Loh Cheng Kooi said cyber safety among young people needed to be tackled given its rise in recent years due to the pandemic and lockdowns.

“We have seen a trend of cyberbullying, especially since many have been at home and are engaging in online sessions due to the pandemic. So, they are more exposed to abuse than ever before.

“What is crucial is to heighten the cyber safety knowledge among youths.

“OCBC’s sponsorship has enabled WCC to go to six secondary schools in recent months to conduct cyber safety for nearly 1,000 students educating them against cyber harassment, sexting, online violence and preventing such situations.

“With interactive sessions, WCC learnt about the risky behaviours that teens are engaged in and the importance of engaging teachers in supporting students faced with risky situations such as online dating, sexting and so forth.

“On Nov 17, WCC followed up with a training workshop on Preventing Online Violence for Children for 62 secondary school counsellors in Penang,” she said.

The trainers spoke about current trends in online activities and psychosocial development of teenagers, and discussed cases of teens selling their naked picture, online dating, cyber bullying and the roles of agencies in assisting sexual assault cases involving children.

School counsellors shared on challenges students faced in tackling cyber violence issues.

“We thank OCBC for helping us yet again following the sponsorship of our website upgrade last year,” she said.

Ong said youths were vulnerable to bullying situations, especially online, hence seeing to their safety was important.

“We are painfully aware of the social and economic effects of the pandemic.

“So, we wanted to support our own community, particularly those deeply affected these past few years.

“I applaud WCC’s work and see this as a good opportunity for youths to be more aware of their surroundings. It is vital that they have exposure on defending and protecting themselves against anything untoward,” he said.

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