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Digital ministry and dtac set up collaborative framework in fight against cyberbullying

(Mar 22, 2018) - Digital economy and society ministry and dtac have jointly configured a collaborative working framework on anti-cyberbullying program to address the growing problem in Thailand.
  • Digital ministry will coordinate government agencies, develop safe internet curriculum and fund academic research
  • Study found that one third of Thai children had experienced cyberbullying
Dr.Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, said youngsters (15-24 year-old) have the highest internet penetration with 89.8% in 2017, according to the survey from the National Statistical Office (NSO). Thai people also heavily use social media, including 47 million Facebook account, 41 million Line account, 11 million Instagram account and 9 million Twitter account.
The figures above have the implication on the use of social media among teenagers, who have less digital literacy and have potential to be victimized
The ministry realize double-edged sword of the use of digital technology that children can be used inappropriately, resulting in a vast number of form of online problems. Recently, the ministry organized a seminar on anti-cyberbullying program, allowing stakeholders to offer their comment, which the ministry can develop and update national internet policy.
“This public-private partnership has marked the year of integration between the government and stakeholders to take action against cyberbullying and it’s a good start to jointly address social problems,” said Dr.Pichet.
Anti-cyberbullying is one of the government’s strategy to promote and prevent children’s right for the use of online media, aimed at building mechanism and system of digital literacy.
The collaborative framework covers five areas. First, the ministry will coordinate with the government agencies to create an effective referral system for the cyberbullying victims to Technology Crime Suppress Division if there is cybercrime-related case. Second, the ministry will extend the use of Stop Bullying Chat Line developed by dtac through its digitally-connected communities nationwide. Third, the ministry will educate safe internet use through young ambassador in school activities.
Fourth, the ministry and dtac will jointly develop digital citizenship curriculum and circulate all school nationwide via the cooperation with the education ministry.
Lastly, the ministry will provide funding for the internet-related research in order to understand more about safe internet use and cyberbullying in Thailand.
Lars Norling, chief executive officer at dtac, said dtac positioned itself as a child-friendly business in line with its responsible business, which is an integral part of the company’s strategy. It’s a heart of operation at all levels. As a mobile service provider, dtac realized its role of being responsible business and initiate Safe Internet Program in 2014 in a bid to promote safe internet environment for children.
dtac’s child-friendly business strategy can be divided into 4 pillars – raise awareness of Safe Internet use, integrate strategy in product and services to ensure  that its products are safe, seek child-friendly internet ecosystem and drive safe internet related regulations and policies. Last year, dtac has reached out and promote safe internet use to more than 27,000 students via school outreach activities.
Mr.Norling said Stop Bullying Chat Line was soft launched last June with more than 40,000 views and 278 victims, reflecting a large size of cyberbullying problem in Thailand.
“To address the problem sustainably, the company, the government, civic society or even intergovernmental organization cannot do it alone. We need to join forces and reinforce community and government effort to protect and fulfill children’s right, including cyberbullying space,” said Mr.Norling.
Assoc.Prof. Charnvit Pornnoppadol, Head of Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Sirisaj hospital, Mahidol university, said Thai teenagers are highly addicted to internet, spending time online 4.8 hours daily. The applications they use the most are Youtube, Line and Facebook respectively.
Citing his research entitled “The state of cyberbullying in Thailand among youths at Mathayom 1-3, in collaboration with 13 counrties, Charnvit said one third of Thai youths had once experienced cyberbullying. 34.6% of respondents had bullied and 37.8% had been bullied, while 39% had become a bystander.
47% of respondents said they had a chat with strangers, while 56% had befriended with strangers online. 65% allowed their friends to use their phone while logging in. 28% had forgotten to log out their social media account while using public computer. 6.5% had met with stranger offline. Surprisingly, 48% of them let other people know their social media account password.
Charnvit pointed out that people become bullies, potentially due to their mental and emotional disorder. Besides, online addiction behavior also associated with the cause of cyberbullying.
“Chatting with strangers both online and offline, letting people know personal data and posting their VDO clip online all referred to risky internet behavior, potentially lead to further cybercrimes including cyberbullying,” said Mr.Charnvit.
The problem solution is required an integration among stakeholders by promoting safe internet culture.