The ‘I Am Digital’ social media online safety campaign will run for five weeks from 1st February, in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga, and feature educational materials in English, Fijian iTaukei, Fiji Hindi, Samoan, Tok Pisin and Tongan. Music producer Jawsh 685, singer Mia Kami, children’s TV show presenter Lei, comic artist and pro-wrestler Michel Mulipola, and artist and magazine founder Aysha Nanai-Leifi are amongst the well-known names backing the campaign to educate and empower Pacific Island teenagers and young people to have safer and more positive online experiences.
Shairana Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Fiji, said that “We are delighted that Facebook partnered with Save the Children Fiji for this important campaign. Such campaigns are very impactful as the key messages shared will educate children and young people in Fiji and the Pacific region to be more aware of their rights and responsibilities when using social media.
"In the Pacific region, children with access to the internet and social media are often left unsupervised. There is an urgent need to educate and empower our children on digital safety. They also need role models who can inspire and influence them to use such platforms for their advantage and development. The ‘I Am Digital’ campaign has been designed in consultation with children and young people particularly children from Save the Children Fiji’s Kids Link platform. The campaign therefore, is child friendly and is a timely intervention that will inform and educate children and young people on online safety."
Children and young people from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga expressed that such campaigns are needed to protect them from online bullying.
"The I Am Digital campaign will be of great help to young people in terms of educating and guiding us on interacting and connecting with others positively. It was exciting and a great learning experience helping to shape this campaign by being part of the focus group discussions and raising our voices as young people on issues affecting us when it comes to the online world," said Freda Fasavalu, a Kidslink member.
“Being online is good fun but we also need to learn how to stay safe. Young people are being bullied and harassed on social media, particularly for girls, you can be targeted. All women and girls must be respected online,” said Damarish, a member of the PNG youth group.
Anne Dunn, Fiji’s Online Safety Commissioner, said: “We receive troubling reports nearly every day from Fijians who feel they have suffered harm online, and the existing tools at our disposal make it difficult to ensure that social media users from different backgrounds and who use different languages are protected. We look forward to working more closely with these platforms, including Facebook, to create a safer online environment for Fijians of all ages, but particularly young people. We know that at earlier stages of development, cyber bullying and online abuse have dire consequences in the real world. We need a culture shift towards a safer, more inclusive, and more empowering online environment, and this partnership with Save the Children is an important step.”
“Children and young people in Pacific Island countries are rapidly increasing their online presence and activity, predominantly through social media. The ’I Am Digital’ campaign recognises the importance of empowering them to do so in a way that is enjoyable as well as informative, safe and secure,” said Mia Garlick, Director of Policy, Facebook, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
“Digital connectivity is transformative. It provides children and young people with opportunities to grow, learn, and connect. But it can also expose them to new threats. The 'I Am Digital' campaign empowers and supports children and young people to be safe online,” said Gerry Dyer, Regional Director, Pacific for Save the Children Australia.
A recent report on Online Safety in the Pacific stated that ‘with cable internet systems rolling out across the Pacific, access to affordable and fast digital connectivity in the region is set to rapidly expand, opening up unprecedented opportunities for children but also potentially exposing them to new risks of harm. Child online safety in the Pacific region thus stands at a critical juncture’.
This report found that ‘children’s key online safety concerns relate to inappropriate content’ and that ‘children consider social media platforms...a conduit through which perpetrators of online violence and cyberbullying may reach them. They (children) describe receiving unsolicited images, being hacked and having [their] private images exploited.’
The campaign resources can be found on dedicated ‘I Am Digital’ Facebook pages for each country:
Photo Facebook I am Digital Samoa