Photo - Student holding the National Survey Report 2013 at the launch.
During the recent CyberSecurity Malaysia Awards, Conference and Exhibition (CSM-ACE) 2013, Malaysian telco DiGi Telecommunications [DiGi] and partners of the DiGi CyberSAFE in Schools programme unveiled the results of an inaugural national survey of almost 10,000 children from 460 schools, which points to a need for more online safety guidance.
DiGi's chief strategy and corporate affairs officer, Christian Thrane, said that based on the polls, 68 percent of school children have access to the internet at home. Of this, a significant number of them spend an average of eight hours a week on the internet and 68 percent used it primarily for social networking purpose.
"Beyond creating awareness, we've leveraged on our reach to students in 460 schools nationwide to better understand their usage and behavioural patterns, and knowledge of cyber safety," said Thrane.
"The results have given us a repository of information, the most comprehensive collation of statistics on the topic in the country, as a reference to better address real needs," he said. "We are pleased that a significant number of students have strengthened their awareness and equipped themselves with knowledge and skills to protect themselves online after attending the workshop."
He said more than half claimed that they were first introduced to the internet by their family members or relatives and that 27 percent of students admitted to having been bullied online while 13 percent of students said they are still being bullied online today.
The survey also recorded 49 percent of students saying they know of someone who has been bullied online. The most common types of online bullying recorded are sending or receiving nasty messages, being called mean names and having their online accounts hacked.
The report highlighted that a significant number of students who have been bullied turn to their parents, siblings and friends for help while 6 percent of students admitted to keeping it to themselves. Thirty-two  percent of school children said they have only one password for all their online accounts making them an easy target for abuse while a third confessed to not making changes to their password even though they know it is weak.
With reference to cyber safety, 88 percent of students said it is important to learn ways to keep themselves safe online but 38 percent admitted to not knowing how to. The survey also revealed that 4 in 10 parents have never spoken to their children on the need to protect themselves online, with less than half admitting to not having parental control. Additionally, a third of parents are said to not impose rules for internet usage.
Themed 'Safety Net - Growing awareness among Malaysian school children on staying safe online', the survey gathered opinions of 9,651 students across all states in Malaysia from DiGi's CyberSAFE in Schools workshops, which were carried out from 26 April to 12 October this year.
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