Online safety

Strengthening online safety for young people in Asia-Pacific

Digital technology opens up a wide range of new possibilities and benefits for children’s education, health, and development but also exposes them to new risks.

Our online safety program is working across the Asia-Pacific region, and is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and the Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program.

Improving digital literacy in the Pacific

The digital landscape in the Pacific is changing rapidly, with new undersea fibre optic cable providing high-speed internet to communities across the region. This new access combined with increased use of mobile phones has major implications for girls, boys and young women and men.

Internet access is transformative. It equals opportunity — to learn, to grow and to connect. However, in places like the Pacific, where cable internet and mobile phone usage is a relatively recent development, the same technology that brings opportunity can also expose children and young people to new risks of harm

Plan International is working alongside young people, parents, caregivers and community stakeholders in Asia-Pacific to help reduce these risks and harness the opportunities of a digital world.

Together with Plan International Solomon Islands, Plan International Australia and ChildFund Australia are delivering a two-year online safety project in the Solomon Islands to equip young people, their parents and community with the knowledge and skills to promote youth-led and gender-responsive approaches to online safety.

We’re working with young people, parents, caregivers and community stakeholders in Honiara to:

  • enable young women and men, via the delivery of youth lead online safety literacy modules, to confidently identify risks and apply appropriate protective strategies for responsible and safe internet use
  • equip caregivers with the knowledge and skills to support online safety through the delivery of an intergenerational training curriculum
  • engage schools, churches and businesses in developing policy and procedural standards to establish safe online environments for young people
  • facilitate young people’s collaboration with police, government, and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Cyber Safety Pasifika awareness program to enhance cross-sector cooperation for safe environments online.

Our research

Our approach is based on research conducted in 2020 in partnership with ChildFund Australia and the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University. The report ‘Online Safety in the Pacific’ looked at the key challenges and opportunities children’s technology use presents in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Papua New Guinea.

The research highlighted a critical gap in access to online safety and digital literacy programs. Children, young people and their families in the Pacific identified that they felt under-equipped to reap the benefits of the digital age while staying safe online.

While many children and young people have a sense of how digital technology might contribute to a better world, there is also significant scope to encourage them to connect and participate in the online world in a safe and meaningful way.

Read more insights from the report and download a copy.

Maverick & Joana helping to protect their peers

Maverick Seda and Joana Gwamanu are youth facilitators in the Solomon Islands, helping children and young people to identify risks and apply protective strategies for responsible and safe internet use through the Swipe Safe program.

In partnership with Plan International Australia and ChildFund Australia, Plan International Solomon Islands has trained 17 young people in Honiara, including Maverick and Joana, to become online safety advocates and facilitate the roll-out of the Swipe Safe curriculum to to 182 young people in high schools and universities.

Internet users have increased quickly over the years. Back in 2011, if I am sitting with a group of 6 boys, none of them will be using the internet. The same situation today will be very different. Half or more than half of the group of boys will be on the internet using their smartphones
  • Maverick, 25, Honiara (pictured)
Being a youth facilitator and trainer for the Swipe Safe curriculum enables me to empower more youth and young girls in online safety
  • Joana, 23, Honiara

Solomon Islands first ever National Youth Forum for Cyber Safety

In July 2021, Plan International along with partners, helped to organise “Growing Up Online“, an event aimed at strengthening online safety for young people in Solomon Islands. Watch the video to find out more.

Project partners and donors

Online safety partner logos

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