Safer Internet Day is celebrated in over 100 countries each year to promote a more secure Internet. It nurtures and increases public awareness on cyber security, especially to young people across the globe, so that they become more responsible when using technology and digital gadgets. In Malaysia this year, this event was observed over one month, beginning 5 February.
The Malaysian Safer Internet Day campaign was officiated by Eddin Syazee Shith, Deputy Minister of Communication and Multimedia in Putrajaya, Malaysia. It focused on “Cyber Wellness,” with the objective to promote wellness in the digital world through healthy mental well-being and ethical social values.
The Internet Society Malaysia Chapter was a strategic partner in Safer Internet Day 2019. Together with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, CyberSecurity Malaysia and other stakeholders from the industry, regulators, and society, various programs were organized to promote cyber wellness, a safer Internet, and nurturing and increasing public awareness on cyber security.
The theme cyber wellness was chosen as young people today have greater access to the Internet and communication devices. Living in an “on demand” interactive digital culture where social media has become an influential platform to their social lives, youth can be exposed to the negative elements of the Internet. It is therefore imperative that there needs to be a greater understanding of online behavior and awareness of how to protect oneself in cyberspace.
In conjunction with Safer Internet Day, the CyberHeroes competition, organized by CyberSecurity Malaysia, in collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank and Asia Pacific University, was held. CyberHeroes sought new and promising cyber security talents and promoted cyber security culture among the younger generation. The event was an informative platform to promote the culture of being protective and responsible in cyber space.
A Seminar titled “Youth Cyber Wellness in the Digital Era” was also held in conjunction with Safer Internet Day. The first session of the talk focused on creating a positive environment for healthy well-being. The talk was moderated by Mustafa Ahmad, the Senior Vice President of CyberSecurity Malaysia. The second talk centered on youth empowerment on social media and was moderated by Aziz Ramli, a.k.a Caprice, an educational motivator. The third session was moderated by Aisyah Shakirah Suhaidi, an Internet Society Malaysia member, and the session focused on steps to mitigate cyberbullying and other threats on the Internet. Panelists of these sessions included representatives from the government, media, arts, and IT industry.
Deliberating on a safer Internet, Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo said the Malaysian Government will introduce digital citizenship to promote digital etiquette and digital health and wellness, derived from the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship, which are digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital laws, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health, and digital security.
He further added that these initiatives are necessary as use of the Internet could affect physical and mental health, as well as exposing users to cyber threats such as fraud, cyberbullying, identity theft, and more.
The Internet Society Malaysia Chapter agrees with Gobind and the need for cyber wellness to be promoted. He envisions working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that it is realized.
The Chapter is currently working with CyberSecurity Malaysia on educating schoolchildren on cyber safety, and is working on a paper to be presented at both the regional and the global level on cyber wellness.