Google, ASEAN, and the Fight for Online Safety

Image credit: iStockphoto/razaklatif

Together with ASEAN Foundation, Google designed a series of monthly talks on online safety for ASEAN youth. The initiative, which ran from November 2020 to February 2021, covered cyberbullying, misinformation, responsible online behavior, digital footprints, and stranger danger.

In the region, where 463 million people use the internet, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, recognizes the growing threat of disinformation and fake news and the role of education in tackling this problem.

“Along with our partners, ASEAN education sectors are pushing for the continuous inclusion of media and information literacy skills subject matter to address disinformation and promote media literacy in the curriculum," said ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Education (SOM-ED) Philippines leader, Wilfredo E. Cabral in a recent meeting.

In recent years, media literacy in the region has been a priority for governments. During the pandemic, the rise of technology use has made digital literacy an even more inevitable task.

The talks on online safety for ASEAN youth are part of the region’s drive towards a more informed citizenry. The talks include online resources, such as tip sheets and guides, to help youth navigate their online experiences safely and responsibly.

On Safer Internet Day 2021, speakers focused on digital well-being, parenting, online safety, and misinformation. The episode also launched the ASEAN Online Safety Academy website, developed by Google and the ASEAN Foundation to contain essential online safety resources.

"I am heartened to learn that ASEAN Foundation has joined hands with Google to host a series of webinars on online safety, as a rolling number of ASEAN youths are spending more time online. This opportunity allows them to learn how to manage risks associated with their online experiences," said H.E. Amb. Phasporn Sangasubana, Ambassador of Kingdom of Thailand to ASEAN.

An episode on misinformation tackled the problem of fake news and shared tips on how to verify information sources amid the global infodemic, such as checking multiple sources, looking for evidence, and being skeptical of sensational headlines.

"As we enjoy the benefits of the internet, we sometimes forget that we share personal, and sometimes sensitive, data online, making ourselves susceptible to become the target of cybercriminals and scammers. To address this issue, our youths need to be equipped with the necessary skills to use the internet safely and wisely. In this regard, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to our wonderful partner, ASEAN Foundation and Google, for making this webinar series a reality," said H.E. Amb. Tran Duc Binh, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to ASEAN.

Image credit: iStockphoto/razaklatif