9 December 2023
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ISLAMABAD: Zindagi Trust and Meta announced their collaboration with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), and the National Commission on the Rights of Child (NCRC) to launch a digital campaign “Cultivating Digital Competence of Youth and Parents” to promote youth safety in digital spaces.

The collaboration was announced on the occasion of National Children’s Day in Pakistan, which was marked on Monday, a PTA news release said.

Shehzad Roy, founder of Zindagi Trust, in his remarks, said the main goal of the campaign was to start the dialogue and educate young people and their parents about online safety and different ways to report negative content such as online bullying, false information, hate speech and spam.

“As part of conversations on online safety, safeguarding children on the Internet, addressing their educational requirements, and encouraging positive interactions stand as paramount objectives for the PTA,” the news release said.

“It is important for the young people to understand that access to devices and the Internet comes with a responsibility that extends not only to their own safety but also to the well-being of others in the online sphere,” it added.

The commendable initiative by the Zindagi Trust and Meta would help the young people in cultivating online relationships in an environment where “they feel safe. The PTA supports this initiative and recognizes its potential to significantly contribute to the overall online safety of young people,”.

It is imperative to make online safety conversations part of everyday life – just like conversations about ‘stranger danger’ or crossing the road, and this should start early.

Imran Haider, Incharge of the Unit To Counter Online Child Abuse, Cybercrime Wing of FIA explained that in today’s digital age, children were surrounded by a wide array of electronic gadgets, “therefore, education and awareness play a crucial role in child protection by empowering children and families to identify and prevent child abuse”.

NCRC Chairperson Ayesha Raza Farooq expressed the hope that through the campaign, the young people in Pakistan would be equipped with the tools and knowledge to navigate the digital world safely and responsibly.

The launch of the campaign was marked by a roundtable discussion, which discussed the importance of protecting the young people in the digital age and curating informed individuals on cybercrime.

Meta’s Director of Public Policy for South and Central Asia, Sarim Aziz, who attended the discussion, stated that the company was committed to doing their part to protect the young people on and off their apps and “will continue to collaborate with our various stakeholders, industry safety partners, and law enforcement to keep young people safe online”.

This collaborative digital campaign will also include video messages from students who talk about safety tools like Privacy Check Up, Locked Profiles, Hidden Words, Supervision Tools, and managing false information.

Abdul Gh Lone