For most teenagers in New Zealand, time spent out of class is used for socialising with friends or surfing the Internet. But for a special group of young people in a ChildFund-supported community in Laos, free time is a great opportunity for young people to share with their friends about online safety.
The program, appropriately named Ready For Life, addresses the key concerns community members have expressed in Laos by giving children and youth the chance to improve their digital media literacy and readiness for employment.
In today’s session, the four young advocates share six important points that everyone should know to stay safe online:
1. The Internet is public – Everyone in the world can use the internet, which means, everyone can see what is posted. If you don’t want others to see it, don’t post it.
2. Your posts are permanent – Once you’ve placed something online, it can’t be erased. Even if you delete your post, there is no guarantee the content hasn’t been saved elsewhere.
3. The Internet connects us – When you’re online, you can connect with friends, but you can also connect with strangers from around the world. Because of this, it’s extra important to know who it is you’re speaking with before you share personal information.
4. Not everything you read online is true – anything can be shared online, even if it’s untrue. That’s why it’s important to question anything you read online.
5. It’s easy to wear a mask on the Internet – Even if you have the best of intentions, those you communicate with may not. It’s easy for someone to present a false image of himself or herself, so be sure to safeguard yourself and the information you share.
6. It’s also easy to be misunderstood online – When you post comments online, it’s easy for your message to be taken the wrong way. That’s why everyone should review their posts before sending and ask the question: Is this respectful, true and necessary?
About Ready For Life
Ready for Life is a programme implemented by ChildFund Laos to build the resilience of adolescents (10 to 19 years of age) in rural and urban communities within Laos by increasing their capacity to plan, voice their ideas, make decisions, and take actions that impact their socio-economic well-being. The project has been developed and piloted with 140 young people, and will expand to 280 youth in the next year.