While undoubtedly one of the most amazing achievements in human history, the internet can sometimes be a double-edged sword.
To get students and young people to improve their digital literacy and think deeper about online safety, Google Malaysia held a workshop in Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) KL main campus to highlight Internet safety tips based on the following core themes: 1. Security, 2. Privacy, 3. Family Safety and 4. Misinformation.
Google shared the importance of maintaining good Security by encouraging students to take the Security Checkup, a free service that helps users ensure their Google accounts are safe by checking on settings that could impact an account’s security. Students were then walked through steps to create stronger passwords and also taught how to secure their accounts with 2-Step Verification, along with other important security tips such as enabling a lock screen. It was also highlighted that downloading from only secure sources and regularly updating the operating system and apps also helps ensure against vulnerabilities.
With doxxing and swatting becoming prevalent, there has never been a more important time to be Privacy savvy. Through the workshop, students learned how to take charge of their data by running through data control settings related to their Google accounts. They were also taught how to avoid phishing attempts and shared best practices such as not to overshare personally identifiable information online.
When it comes to online threats, no one is more vulnerable than children. The students were also exposed to ways to help their younger kin to stay safe online. In the Family Safety section of the workshop, students were encouraged to use Google’s Family Link for minors under 13, through which they are able to create kid-friendly, guardian-managed Google accounts that put in place content control and activities monitoring. It was also stressed that good communication is important when educating young children about Internet safety, as an open communication will allow kids to freely ask questions about their own online experience to help identify potential issues before they escalate.
Last but not least, Google addressed how being more critical of information and having awareness to guard against Misinformation has also become a critical life skill. Google shared tips on vetting and managing information that students might come across online with simple actions like taking a minute to check for evidence and reliable sources before even thinking of sharing suspicious or unverified information online.
At the end of the presentation and sharing, the students had fun getting tested by taking part in interactive quizzes and games to reinforce the safety tips.
Students to lead online safety campaign
Wanting to ensure that the students would be able to put their new found learnings to good use, Google also helped kick off an online safety campaign as part of the TAR UC students’ semester coursework. The second year degree students pursuing Bachelor of Public Relations (Honors) have been tasked with utilising online tools and media channels to share important online safety tips to their peers and families.
The students will be working to build the Guardians of the Interwebz campaign from the ground up as they learn to effectively research, plan, create content and manage online engagements.
“Last year, we had a successful campaign with their seniors called Cool Tools 4 Skool, where we had students share online tips and tools to enhance the students’ life. Through that we’ve come to discover that the best people to positively influence the digital native generation are the digital natives themselves. We think young people can work their own magic around the very important message of online safety for their peers and juniors so that the experience becomes safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone,” said Zeffri Yusof, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Google Malaysia.
“Today’s students are at the forefront of technology and they are poised to be pioneers of innovations we’ve not even thought about yet but at the same time, without a strong foundation in how to use it safely, they will be vulnerable to many online threats, which is why a program like this is so important,” said Ms Lim Siz Siz, the program leader of the Bachelor of Public Relations (Honors) course.
Student participated in the quizzes to test their new found knowledge and win goodies
Students attending the Google Cafe: Guardians of the Interwebz workshop worked quickly to tackle interactive games and puzzles as a team