Total Access Communication PLC. or dtac today launched its Safe Internet initiative for Thailand to provide children and new users with the tools and awareness necessary to safely navigate the online world, which is increasingly common in the country, particularly via smartphone.
As part of dtac’s Safe Internet initiatives, dtac plans to kick off an extension of its ‘One Million Hours for Thai Children’ project by providing kids across the country with a means to protect themselves against online harm, educating them on how to safely use the internet, how to understand signs of danger and handle problems when they occur. The goal, says dtac, is create millions of responsible digital citizens out of Thailand’s children, key to the country’s digital future.
dtac’s major shareholder, Telenor Group, a global leader in digital safety with industry-first partnerships with law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL and numerous global best practices and partnerships in digital responsibility from Norway to Malaysia, will partner with dtac as it launches this nationwide digital safety program.
Based on data from the World Bank, there are currently more than 15 million children in Thailand, and more than 25 percent of them now have access to the internet. With annual growth rates of 0.1 percent in this segment of the population and with internet and smartphone penetration nearly doubling year over year, Telenor Group expects approximately 10-15 million Thai children to be online by 2017.
“More children with access to the digital world will be great for Thailand, so now it’s important to start building their digital literacy. The more digitally literate they become, the more they will have to gain from the internet. dtac is committed to delivering internet that is truly for all, and together with Telenor Group, we will do so responsibly,” said Jon Eddy
Abdullah, CEO, dtac. “We will start by empowering children with the know-how to make informed choices, avoid risks and find help when needed. And we will engage with stakeholders to take joint responsible efforts.”
Ola Jo Tandre, Telenor Group Director of Sustainability said, “It isn’t just up to governments or ICT companies alone. Diverse stakeholders must collaborate. Together with experienced global partners, such as INTERPOL, UNICEF, CyberSecurity, the Red Cross and others, we take an active role in promoting safer use of digital communication services among children and our global partnerships will be used to benefit dtac’s Safe Internet program. Every one of our new users must be equipped not just with the means to access the internet, but with the right information and support system to be able to navigate this new world safely.”
Facts and figures on internet access and safety
The following figures are currently reported by the ECPAT, an international non-profit organization that works to prevent the exploitation of children:
– The #1 danger for Thai youngsters is chatting on the internet.
– 24 percent of Thai youths with access to the internet have arranged to meet face-to-face with previously unknown online friends and 42 percent think they would like to meet with these new friends in person.
– 71 percent of child internet surfers have used the internet to surf websites with sexually explicit images and 52% feel no guilty about it
When children encounter exploitation or are lured online, 45 percent tend to keep the problem to themselves and not tell anybody.