Survey: School children go unprotected online


  • TECH
  • Monday, 08 Sep 2014

The CyberSafe in Schools survey was done nationwide over a period of nine months

Forty percent of Malaysian school children don’t know how to protect themselves online from threats such as cyber-bullying, cyber-grooming and cyber-stalking, according to the National Survey 2014: CyberSafe in Schools, a nationwide online safety survey.

Contrary to common perception, there is no indication that the children from the urban areas are better prepared to protect themselves compared to those in the rural areas.

This could be due to the fact that awareness doesn’t always translate into preventive action. In fact, more than 40% of children who said that online safety is important continued to exercise very little precaution.

The survey which examined several dimensions of Internet-related behaviour — online safety, cyber-bullying, support networks and personal concerns — was tabulated and processed by Taylor Nelson and Sofres Malaysia Sdn Bhd, and analysed by education research experts Prof Kuldip Kaur and Prof Karunathan Chinna.
Half of the children are unsupervised when online, with close to 40% claiming they are not bound by any rules of safety according to the survey.
About 6% of the school children chose to remain silent even though there are more than 10 reporting channels.
“With mobile communications and Internet easily accessible to our children, we have the responsibility to protect them from the rising number of cyber threats,” said DiGi chief executive officer Lars Norling.
 
As many as 26% of the school children reported that they had been bullied online, especially those between the age of 13 and 15. The harassment included name calling, and posting of improper photos and messages online. However, 64% of the schoolchildren felt that such behaviour is not tantamount to cyber-bullying.

“The findings of this national study will help us tailor relevant programmes that not only equip the younger generation with the right knowledge and skills, but also to inculcate good judgement and positive cyber conduct, ”

Several recommendations were put forward, including increasing public access to education on the Internet safety to help “digital resilience” and grow strong public and private support system to assist children who have encountered negative experiences online.

The CyberSafe in Schools programme is a public-private partnership by the Ministry of Education Malaysia, DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, CyberSecurity Malaysia, and Childline Malaysia to create awareness and empower students and teachers with digital skills to stay safe on the Internet.

The latest survey was done over a period of nine months in 2013 alongside a series of CyberSafe in Schools workshop involving a total of 13,945 students covering the urban and rural schools nationwide.

According to CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab, the CyberSafe in Schools programme has extended its reach to a total of 20,000 students nationwide since its debut in 2010 with 500 teachers being trained on cybersafety awareness to educate and guide students on the challenges they will face online.

A copy of the report is available online.
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