Facebook has launched We Think Digital today, which is an online educational portal aimed at helping people better understand and think critically to make sharing online a thoughtful process. Developed in collaboration with experts spread across the Asia Pacific, Facebook aims to be able to 1 million people across 8 countries of the Asia Pacific by 2020, and have made their resources available in 6 different languages for the purpose.
We Are Social’s 2019 Digital Trends Reports pinpoints the Asia Pacific as the fastest growing hub of internet users, with a current base of no less than a whopping 2.21 billion people online, with 203 million new people having joined in the past year itself. We Think Digital states its aim as encouraging users to understand their online presence better, helping them not only to develop the requisite skills for enjoying digital technology but also by aiding them in nurturing the faculties of critical thinking and empathy.
We Think Digital comprises of a series of online tutorials created in collaboration with the following “journalist Saffron Howden, support from TJ Agulto from AHA Behavioral Design; Professor Katherine Chen from National Chengchi University; Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni from the Queensland University of Technology; Dr Damien Spry, Lecturer of Media & Communications at the University of South Australia and Visiting Fellow at Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre; and Chairman Wayne Chau of the Agent of Change Foundation; Executive Director Hamish Curry of the Asia Education Foundation.” This list ranges from academicians to representatives from NGOs and civil society organizations across the region who have come together to answer the question: ‘what does it mean to be a Digital Citizen?’
Privacy, safety, security, digital discourse, and knowing your digital footprint are the topics covered by the series and have been categorized under four modules which Facebook compiles as:
1. What Is the Internet? An explanation of the internet and social media, how they work, and the importance of digital citizenship.
2. Your Digital Footprint: All you need to know about safety and security online and managing your digital footprint.
3. Be a Critical Thinker: Helping you to discern different types of information and develop critical thinking and empathy when communicating online.
4. You as a Digital Citizen: Insights into digital discourse and the differences between interacting online versus offline, your rights and responsibilities, as well as internet concepts like netiquette, being a creator, copyright and plagiarism.
Improving digital literacy and encouraging greater levels of digital citizenship benefits everyone in an increasingly connected community. The People’s Association recognizes the need to equip residents, especially seniors, with digital citizenship skills to exercise critical thinking and responsible online behaviour. We are happy to partner with Facebook to launch the We Think Digital initiative and are proud to be able to use our own ‘Seniors for Smart Nation’ programs and Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors to help deliver these valuable skills to the public – Mr. Chia Tze Yee, the People’s Association’s Group Director, Engagement Group
Programs like We Think Digital that keep pace with increasing online participation and the way we consume, create or share content are important to the promotion of astute and responsible digital citizenship and online safety in Singapore and across the region. This is a positive initiative from Facebook – Mr. Lock Wai Han, Chairman of Singapore’s Media Literacy Council, Singapore’s leading voice on media literacy and cyber wellness
With an initial launch in Singapore, the programme shall consecutively be rolled out in Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Facebook then intends to extend the programme to Argentina and Mexico. In Singapore, We Think Digital shall be aided by The People’s Association, an organization aiming to bring closer through community programmes Singaporeans from all walks of life. Besides this, We Think Digital shall also have a regional Steering Committee to advise Facebook and help it to ensure that We Think Digital is bringing its best to communities across the Asia Pacific. Comprising of members from around the region, the committee has already included Dr. Vu Minh Khuong, Associate Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and Dr. Pijitra Tsukamoto, Associate Professor at Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University as its part.