Conscious good citizens are a must-have on the internet
Friday marks Stop Cyberbullying Day. The day is observed globally on the third Friday of June every year. Although it has not been observed before in Bangladesh, this time various non-governmental organizations and institutions are celebrating the day. According to the stopcyberbullyingday.org, 60% of internet users have witnessed or been victims of bullying, harassment or abuse. The number of such victims is increasing day by day in Bangladesh as well. Prominent people have talked about how everyone, including students, can be aware of online harassment.
Change must begin in family, school
Yasir Azman, chief executive officer, Grameenphone
Cyberbullying is a global crisis. As good citizens, we have to deal with this crisis collectively. Now in particular, our efforts have to be enhanced during the Covid-19 pandemic, because of the increased digital dependency. In real life, we get support from family, friends or teachers to become a good citizen, but the issue remains absent in the virtual world. It has a long-term negative impact on our present and future generations. That is why change must come from family and school levels. We have been working with Unicef for a long time to include online safety in the curriculum. Of late, the Ministry of Education has started working on the matter. I would like to thank the government of Bangladesh for taking such a timely step. We need to build conscious good citizens on the internet and I do believe we are well on our way.
Since 2014, Grameenphone, partnered with Unicef, has been conducting outreach programs in schools across the country to sensitize parents and teachers on creating awareness among children about a safe internet environment. Besides, we have prepared a guidebook on safe internet, in which Brac, a non-governmental organization, has stretched its support alongside Unicef. Child Helpline 1098 provides support on any child safety issues, including online safety. In addition, through the child online safety program "Be Smart, Use Heart," we have sensitized more than 270,000 guardians on the importance of safety
measures while using the internet. In addition, over one million children have been made aware of safe internet through online education and training. Digiworld Bangla, a learning resource application designed in Bangla to help children develop an online understanding and strengthen digital resilience, has been launched. To create more awareness, the telecom operator conducted a nationwide online etiquette awareness drive named "Internet er Duniya'e Jante Hobe, Kothay Apnar Thamte Hobe" (In the world of the Internet, you have to know where to draw the line). The main goal of these activities is to be aware of certain etiquette on the internet, just as we adhere to certain etiquette in real life.
Students are getting increasingly vulnerable
Prof Syed Md Golam Faruk, director general, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education
Considering its gravity, the cyberbullying issue will not be resolved only by including it in textbooks. Students need to be aware of this problem through other means as well. I would like to advise students to use the internet for the purpose of studying and improving skills in various subjects. But if you use it indiscriminately your guardians should stop you. Students need to know and understand safe internet usage. And if one of you falls in danger, never hide. Inform your guardians, teachers or a trustworthy adult. The problem cannot be solved by keeping it a secret; it will only become more troublesome.
Everyone can see our behaviour online
Sara Zaker, chairperson, Asiatic 3sixty
Each platform has a specific community guideline — a responsible person follows it, does not harm others by concealing his/her identity, and does not engage in suspicious behaviour. We must understand that everyone can see our behaviour online. Everyone should speak up from their own position to prevent cyberbullying. If cyberbullying or any such issue is noticed, it should not be avoided; if necessary, one must seek legal assistance. Socially, one should be vocal against the crisis. Family values can play an important role here.
Children must be taught how to stay safe
Shabnaz Zaherin, child protection specialist, Unicef Bangladesh
We need to take preventive measures to protect children online. Unicef has started working with partners such as donors, internet service providers, and the government over the issue. Roundtable discussions have been organized at the policy-making level to formulate appropriate action plans.
Respect others despite ideological differences
Tahsan Rahman Khan, singer
Many celebrities have posted pictures with their family members on social media, only to face offensive comments about themselves and their families. There are some people who like to spread negativity and hatred all the time. It is actually an expression of their inferiority. You can respect others even if there are differences in your ideologies — there is no need to make offensive comments.
Think before you comment
Sadat Rahman, winner of International Children's Peace Prize
Very often, we have fun by making unnecessary comments on posts by friends or a celebrity. But we never think about whether our comments hurt them or not. We should keep in mind that the internet is not like pencil writing, which can be erased; it’s like writing in ink. That is why Everybody should think before making any comments or sending text messages.