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Digi CyberSAFE in Schools 2015 Survey: Malaysian Schoolchildren on Staying Safe Online

Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, together with CyberSecurity Malaysia and the Ministry of Education today released the results of the CyberSAFE in Schools 2015 Survey.

(L-R) Philip Ling, Digi CyberSAFE Programme Manager and Ola-Jo Tandre, Director for Corporate Responsibility of Telenor, holding the CyberSAFE in Schools 2015 Survey Report.

(L-R) Philip Ling, Digi CyberSAFE Programme Manager & Ola-Jo Tandre, Director for Corporate Responsibility of Telenor, holding the CyberSAFE in Schools 2015 Survey Report.

Themed Growing Digital Resilience among Malaysian Schoolchildren on Staying Safe Online, the survey gathered responses from more than 18,000 schoolchildren from 216 secondary schools from all 14 states in Malaysia over a period of 7 months. 

Digi said the purpose of this year’s survey was to identify school children’s experience with existing and new categories of online risk as well as their capacity to protect and recover from these negative experiences. The online survey explored demographic variables such as age, gender, location of school, and frequency of use of the internet.

Key Findings of the CyberSAFE in Schools 2015 Survey:

A few interesting factors have been observed from the survey, indicating that there is a high degree of digital resilience among the schoolchildren:

The results of this survey show that internet usage by schoolchildren in all states in Malaysia is high above 90 percentile.

In the areas of Parent-Child Relations:

  • Many of the schoolchildren are aware of the socially acceptable behaviors on the internet
  • Indicates positive influence of family values on their use of the internet
    • Following the rules set by parents
    • Not hide what they are doing online from their parents
  • Many will help siblings who are cyber-bullied or turn to their parents whom they believe will intervene to help in these situations.

Influence of and Perception of Friends:

  • Although there appear to be a perception among Malaysian schoolchildren that their peers are addicted to the internet, and that a number of them use inappropriate language on the internet, the findings also revealed that it is unlikely that these children will apply peer pressure compelling others to do the same.

On Cyber-bullying:

  • In the area of cyber-bullying, comparatively to the earlier study conducted in 2013, which found that one out of four schoolchildren has been cyber-bullied, the new study revealed that it is highly likely that Malaysian schoolchildren are uncomfortable about cyber-bullying and are aware that such behaviours can be identified and investigated.
  • Although there are a few who indicated that they have received hateful mail or nasty messages, there is also a high likelihood that children know they can get help for cyber-bullying from various support networks such as family, school counsellors or a help centre including the relevant authorities.
  • Nonetheless, there is also a high likelihood that many children will just keep quiet and hope the cyber-bullying will stop. This strategy may be effective in ending the problem or it may also perpetuate the bullying.

On Reaction to Negative Experience:

  • When it comes to problematic online situations, children are generally equipped with the right resiliency skills and are likely to address these problems with a range of solutions.
  • Most children are highly likely to adopt privacy settings or blocking strategies as well as the channels to report to teachers or relevant authorities.
  • In the area of preparedness, generally, it is found that children’s ability to mediate problematic situations was rated much higher than the occurrence of such situations.

On Sexual Experience:

  • Most schoolchildren appear to be uncomfortable with seeing sexual images on the internet and they have also indicated that they have never been subjected to sexual harassment on the internet; or have been asked for intimate photographs or videos of themselves; or have sent such photographs or videos to someone over the internet.
  • It is also revealed that Malaysian children rated experiences with sexting the lowest among other problematic areas such as cyber-bullying, peer pressure and new categories of online risks.

On New Risks:

  • In terms of new online risks that is getting more prevalent in the West, such as hate, self-harm, drug, and suicide sites, findings reveals that it is highly unlikely that Malaysian schoolchildren have visited or have been exposed to such risks, or that they have responded poorly to such problematic situations. Nonetheless, the highest response among the new categories of new risks was for accessing pro-anorexic sites on the internet.

However, there are still some areas of concerns that need to be looked at closely, Digi said:

  • There are quite a number of schoolchildren who are considered by the own peers to be addicted to the internet.
  • There also appears to be a strong correlation between peer pressure and cyber-bullying. Respondents who rated high in experiencing with peer pressure did the same for cyber-bullying
  • Inappropriate languages are being widely used during online interactions.
  • Parents giving more access to the internet as a form of reward to their children
  • If children are bullied on the internet, there is a likelihood that they will keep quiet and hope the bullying will eventually stop.

Insights derived from the study also share several recommendations in addressing the concerns faced by schoolchildren and their online experience. Measures for consideration includes the implementation of a dedicated policy and a structured curriculum on child online protection in schools to further safeguard and build resilience among children. Parents and educators should be advocators of good digital citizenship but it should also be instilled in the schoolchildren themselves that it is their responsibility to build their own digital resilience.

[Download PDF]– Digi CyberSAFE in Schools 2015 Survey Report

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy