Malaysian schoolchildren say it is important to learn about internet safety but many don?t know how

Press Release
November 13, 2013

Malaysian schoolchildren say it is important to learn about internet safety but many don't know how
DiGi CyberSAFE in Schools's inaugural digital resilience survey deepens understanding on children's knowledge and behaviour towards cyber safety in enabling a safer Internet For All

SHAH ALAM, 14 November 2013 - Partners of DiGi's CyberSAFE in Schools, a nationwide outreach programme aimed at raising the awareness of child safety on the Internet, today shared the results of an inaugural survey which polled views of almost 10,000 children from 460 schools nationwide on internet safety. The announcement was made at the CyberSecurity Malaysia Awards, Conference and Exhibition (CSM-ACE) 2013 to mark the completion of its second year programme which successfully doubled its reach to more students and teachers nationwide.

Themed 'Safety Net - Growing awareness among Malaysian school children on staying safe online', the survey gathered opinions of 9,651 students across all states in Malaysia from DiGi's CyberSAFE in Schools workshops, which were carried out from 26 April to 12 October this year. It is the single, largest survey in the country that gauges schoolchildren's level of awareness and understanding of cyber safety issues, their ability to safeguard themselves against online risks, and the impact DiGi's CyberSAFE in Schools workshop had on them.

DiGi's CyberSAFE in Schools is a smart public-private partnership initiated by Ministry of Education, DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (DiGi), and CyberSecurity Malaysia in 2011 to spread awareness and equip students and educators with the ability to enable a family-friendly internet experience through education.
At the launch, Shamsuddin Hassan, Deputy Director, Educational Technology Division, Ministry of Education Malaysia said, "The internet and broadband connectivity have literally brought the world to our children, and as technologies converge, the opportunities are endless. In order to ensure that the next generation reaches their greatest potential, we must ensure that they have access to a wealth of educational information in an environment that protects their personal information, physical safety, and healthy mental development.  Our mission is a quality education that equips our learners with the knowledge and skills of the 21st century."

Also speaking at the event was Christian Thrane, DiGi's Chief Strategy and Corporate Affairs Officer. He explained, "Beyond creating awareness, we've leveraged on our reach to students in 460 schools nationwide to better understand their usage and behavioral patterns, and knowledge of cyber safety. The results has given us a repository of information, the most comprehensive collation of statistics on the topic in the country, as a reference to better address real needs. We are pleased that a significant number of students have strengthened their awareness and equipped themselves with knowledge and skills to protect themselves online after attending the workshop.

"The internet brings substantial social, economic, educational and developmental benefits to children, youth and adults. At the same time, we are aware of rising risks from abuse of the internet associated with greater access. It is therefore important for us to step up the education on cyber safety particularly among our internet generation children to fuel digital resilience. In empowering schoolchildren to keep themselves safe online, we can nurture a family-friendly internet experience that allows our children to enjoy the convenience and far-reaching benefits of the internet," Thrane added.

Based on the polls, 68% of school children have access to the internet at home. Of this, a significant number of them spend an average of eight hours a week on the internet and 68% used it primarily for social networking purpose. More than half claimed that they were first introduced to the internet by their family members or relatives. Some of the key highlights from this survey include:

  • On awareness of cyber threats, 27% of students admitted to having been bullied online while 13% of students said they are still being bullied online today. The survey also recorded 49% of students saying they know of someone who has been bullied online. The most common types of online bullying recorded are sending or receiving nasty messages, being called mean names and having their online accounts hacked. The report highlighted that a significant number of students who have been bullied turn to their parents, siblings and friends for help while 6% of students admitted to keeping it to themselves. 32% of school children said they have only one password for all their online accounts making them an easy target for abuse while a third confessed to not making changes to their password even though they know it is weak.
  • With reference to cyber safety, 88% of students said it is important to learn ways to keep themselves safe online but 38% admitted to not knowing how to. The survey also revealed that 4 in 10 parents have never spoken to their children on the need to protect themselves online, with less than half admitting to not having parental control. Additionally, a third of parents are said to not impose rules for internet usage.
  • On the impact of DiGi's CyberSAFE in Schools workshops, 74% of students said they are now more confident of staying safe while on the Internet after attending the workshop, compared to about 50% before. 84% of students also felt they are now better informed on the issue with 28% of students saying their awareness on cyber bullying has increased significantly while 38% of students said they will take action to improve their password security.

"CyberSecurity Malaysia realises the importance of reaching out to the younger generation and educating them about cyber security. Hence, we developed the CyberSAFE programme, which is short for CYBER SECURITY AWARENESS FOR EVERYONE. In September 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin launched the 'CyberSAFE in Schools' programme. Since then, various activities related to online safety awareness have been organised in Malaysian schools nationwide. To date, more than 500 teachers from all over Malaysia have been trained as CyberSAFE Ambassadors, which means they are equipped with sufficient know-how to raise cyber security awareness in schools. We really hope the CyberSAFE programme will help to eradicate incidents of cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment and other cyber security issues among Malaysians, especially the young school students. I would like to thank the Ministry of Education Malaysia and DiGi Telecommunications for their contributions in making 'CyberSAFE in Schools' a successful programme," said Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia.

DiGi's CyberSAFE in Schools is primarily a series of educational workshops to share knowledge and techniques that equip and empower schoolchildren to keep themselves safe online. The programme which started in 2010 covered 7,000 students and educators from over 280 schools and 14 Pusat Jalurlebar 1Malaysia nationwide. In 2013, the programme successfully reached out to 14,800 students and educators from 460 schools nationwide.

The CyberSecurity Malaysia Awards, Conference and Exhibition (CSM-ACE) 2013 is an event that aims to catalyse innovation and growth for the cyber security industry and inculcate the cyber security culture at a national level.

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