To highlight the importance of online safety for children and reinforce its commitment towards creating a safer digital future for generations to come, Telenor Pakistan celebrated “Safer Internet Day” at its 345 Campus in Islamabad. The event was marked with the launch of a special episode of Burka Avenger and attended by industry experts, academia and students
In the last five years alone, Telenor Pakistan has been working towards building the capacity of children in Pakistan around safe use of the internet in partnership with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi. Through Telenor’s Safe Internet Program, they have upskilled over one million children in the country and over five million across Europe and Asia. Last year, the telecom operator partnered with UNICEF to upskill another 750,000 children, parents, and educators across Pakistan around Child Online Protection and to influence policy and regulatory reform in the next three years.
“Technology and digital applications provide significant opportunities to keep children and young people learning, entertained, and connected. However, it also increases their exposure to a host of risks. Telenor Pakistan will continue promoting digital inclusion, online safety, and new skillset to help young people navigate a connected world. However, online safety content is competing for youths’ attention in a world of social media and video games, and thinking innovatively to communicate our message is more important than ever. ” Irfan Wahab Khan, Chief Executive Officer Telenor Pakistan, said in his remarks.
He added that we could ensure our children are using the internet safely by supporting them and their caregivers to understand the risks presented by the internet and being alert to signs of distress that may arise with online activity. “Keeping the digital safe is a shared responsibility, and all the stakeholders need to come together to keep the dialogue alive on creating a safer space for children,” Khan added.
The event was preceded by a panel discussion led by industry experts on the topic “Making space for a conversation about life online,” followed by the launch of a special episode of Burka Avenger on child online protection.
Burka Avenger is Pakistan’s first animated female superhero, created by Unicorn Black. The animated series chronicles the adventures of Jiya, a schoolteacher by day and a burka-clad superhero by night. In each episode, she fights thugs who want to shut down the girls’ school where she teaches. In this special episode, created in collaboration with Telenor Pakistan, the superhero comes up against villains who are cyberbullying the school children by catfishing the village children and leaking their personal information.
A survey revealed that teenagers and adolescent participants access the internet unsupervised almost 80% of the time. With about 70 million active adolescent users online in Pakistan, there is almost always a danger of these young and inexperienced internet users falling prey to online predators or being influenced by disinformation propagated by malicious content creators.
The event was attended by experts from the public, development, and education sector, including students who shared their perspectives and its impact on their mental well-being. The panel discussion also shed light on social media platforms that are most popular among youth today and what online risks they expose children to. In addition, the panelists underscored the need to build the capacity of not only children but also caregivers and educators and strengthen legislation, curriculum and policy frameworks around online child protection.