Stay-at-home measures during the COVID-19 pandemic had a disruptive impact on students in Malaysia as they relied on e-learning for their education. As their online social interaction increased, many girls at Raudhah’s school had no idea of the risks involved. They were posting and sharing private and personal information, including taking pictures and tagging each other from public accounts.
Funded by Standard Chartered’s COVID-19 Global Charitable Fund, the non-governmental organisation WOMEN:girls created a new module ‘Be Digitally Savvy’ in the Goal curriculum and set up a Google classroom to deliver cyber security and digital literacy skills to Raudhah and other girls.
Learning about online risks
Before committing to the Goal programme this year, Raudhah didn’t think passwords were important and would type her full name when creating an online account. She was also unaware of the dangers of posting pictures of her home from public social media accounts.
But since gaining insights into cyber security, particularly from the programme’s Digital Safety and Share with Care sessions, Raudhah has changed her risky behaviour.
She now knows she should be the only person with access to her accounts. Her passwords are secure, and she has changed all her accounts to unique names, so people are less likely to identify her. Raudhah also made her social media accounts private and is cautious about posting photos of her home and personal information online.
Digital knowledge drives learning
Raudhah has already passed on some of her digital knowledge to friends, including advising someone who was having a hard time studying online to be more participative and ask more questions by using the ‘raise hand’ button in Zoom.
She said: “After the Goal programme, I understand the importance of gaining knowledge and what will affect me if I do not study. Learning from Goal makes me feel that I can contribute something back to society.”
She plans to study and join more programmes like Goal that teach young people about their rights. Although her family supports girls’ rights, she knows many do not understand or agree about gender equality. She is now ready to empower young people to face challenges, become agents of change, and achieve equal rights.
The programme empowered me to be a strong person and helped me live with the pandemic. We can still do activities despite all the restrictions. Goal enhanced my mental health awareness and made me a happier person too.
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