Today on Tuesday 8th February 2022, on the occasion of Safer Internet Day, the Government of PNG under the leadership of my Ministry for Information and Communications Technology together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) acknowledge and highlight the importance of Safer Internet Day (SID).
SID is organised jointly with Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, each February to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology, especially among children and young people. Celebrated on the second day on the second week of the second month of the year, the dayunites millions of people to inspire positive change online and raise awareness of online safety issues as well as participate in various events and activities across the globe.
Safer Internet Day aims to create both a safer and a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. The campaign aims to reach out to children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, as well as the industry, decision makers and politicians, to encourage everyone to play their part in creating a better internet.
By celebrating the positive power of the internet, the Safer Internet Day slogan of “Together for a better internet” encourages everyone to join the movement, to participate and to make the most of the internet’s potential to bring people together.
With a global, community-led approach, Safer Internet Day encourages everyone to come together and play their part. There are many ways to do this, such as:-
- Children and young people can assist to create a better internet by being kind and respectful to others online, by protecting their online reputations (and those of others) and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online.
- Parents and carers play a crucial role in empowering and supporting children to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively, whether it is by ensuring an open dialogue with their children, educating them to use technology safely and positively, or by acting as digital role models.
- Teachers, educators and social workers may assist to create a better internet by equipping their pupils and students with digital literacy skills and by developing their critical thinking skills, which may allow them to better navigate the online world. They may empower them to create their own content, make considered choices online, and may set a personal example of positive online behaviour for their pupils and students.
- Industry may assist to create a better internet by creating and promoting positive content and safe services online, and by empowering users to respond to any issues, by providing clear safety advice, a range of easy-to use safety tools and quick access to support if things do go wrong.
- Decision Makers need to provide a culture in which all of the above can function and thrive – for example, by ensuring that there are opportunities in the curriculum for children and young people to learn about online safety, ensuring that parents and carers have access to appropriate information and sources of support and the industry is encouraged to self-regulate its content and services. They should also take the lead in governance and legislation and ultimately ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people through effective child protection strategies for the digital world.
- As also articulated in the PNG Digital Transformation Policy, cyber safety and privacy are key priorities amongst other things in realising a safer, secure, digital environment.The take-up of digital services can be promoted by providing a safe, secure digital environment. Though a Cabinet decision, the Department of ICT is operating the Social Media Management Desk which seeks to handle misinformation, and policy initiatives to manage cyber safety. In partnership with NICTA, the desk’s functions will be expanded to complement efforts in managing cyber safety issues into the future.
- Everyone has a responsibility to make a positive difference online. We can all promote the positive and safe use of the internet by being kind and respectful to others and by seeking out positive opportunities to create and connect. We can all respond to the negative by reporting inappropriate or illegal content and online behaviour.
In commemoration of Safer Internet Day 2022 today, it gives me great pleasure to also announce on behalf of the PNG Safer Internet Committee (PNGSIC), the release of a “Parents Guide to being Cybersmart’ publication. The said Guide is intended to provide advice to parents of children of all ages as part of engaging families on the importance of online safety.
Further, I commend and encourage the collaborative efforts of both local and international key stakeholders, facilitated by NICTA through the PNG Safer Internet Committee (PNGSIC),in localising and carrying on the all too important work of promoting a more responsible use of and safer internet for the benefit of our communities.
Happy Safer Internet Day and God bless Papua New Guinea!
Honourable Timothy Masiu, MP
Minister for Information and Communications Technology