With an aim to create a safer online environment, Meta has partnered with Maharashtra Cyber to launch a Digital Literacy and Awareness program for adolescents and youth in Maharashtra. The program, We Think Digital, will focus on digital safety best practices and will provide easy access to youth to digital literacy awareness sessions, training resources, knowledge repository including child and adult safety self-help material, safety videos, resources, and help guide.
With the launch of this program, Meta aims to promote safe online behavior by spreading awareness around increasing cyber-crimes and to equip adolescents with tools and resources to tackle the online harm. The training modules will focus on all aspects of cyber security and basics of digital literacy including browsing the internet, Cyber bullying, Sextortion, Darknet Services, Trolling, Identity Theft etc.
Sharing his views on the launch of the program, Mr. Yashasvi Yadav, Special Inspector General of Police (IGP) Maharashtra Cyber, said “While technology and internet has enabled so many lives, the increasing number of cyber-crimes continue to have an irreversible effect on the lives of those who are impacted by these crimes. Today, more and more youth are on the internet and have access to various digital platforms and therefore it is imperative that we offer them with the powerful tools, resources and knowledge that help them stay safe online. We would like to commend Meta in leading this initiative and partnering with us to take digital literacy to the last mile across Maharashtra.”
Built on Meta’s We Think Digital initiative, this partnership aims to train around 10,000 youth from various schools and colleges covering English, Hindi and Marathi languages in Maharashtra. Previously, Meta has conducted similar training and programs in various schools and colleges across Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Assam. Meta’s We Think Digital outlines the digital citizen’s rights and responsibilities, encourages them to think critically about their digital behavior and interactions, and get the most out of the online world. Working in partnership with experts from across India, We Think Digital provides resources to build a global community of responsible digital citizens equipped with skills for a digital world.
Speaking on the collaboration, Satya Yadav, Head, Trust and Safety, Facebook India (Meta) said, “When it comes to young people our platforms are designed to ensure responsible empowerment along with building age-appropriate safeguards. We are constantly innovating technology to ensure that youth benefit from our platforms while they continue to feel safe. As per a report from 2019, around 31% of internet users in India were between the ages of 12-19. With that in mind, this partnership will create an ecosystem that will help in educating young people to use the internet that is not only safe but is also enabling them to grow.”
Meta has always made technological innovations towards introducing age-appropriate measures and products. In line with this commitment, Meta launched Messenger Kids in 2020 to help kids stay safe while being connected to friends and family under the supervision of their parents. Earlier this year, Meta launched Pledge Planets on Messenger Kids, an interactive in-app activity that helps kids learn and practice how to make healthy decisions online, stay safe and build resilience. Messenger Kids Pledge and the Pledge Planets activities were launched in close partnership with Meta’s Youth Advisors. This group of experts in the fields of online safety, child development and children’s media help Meta develop new products, features and policies for young people by sharing their expertise, research and guidance.
Over the years, Meta already has launched several efforts and initiatives to create a safe and more inclusive internet. This includes a new Child Safety Hub, which has video-on-demand safety training, tools, and resources to help youth stay safe. To combat the issue around NCII for users above the age of 18, Meta has launched StopNCII.org in partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline. In India, the platform has partnered with organizations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation and will empower women across the world to combat and prevent the spread of non-consensual intimate imagery (NCII). To provide a more enjoyable online experience, in the past year, Meta has also launched several safety features in the Facebook and Instagram app, such as Hidden Words, Limits, Comments Control, multi-block and the option to hide likes.