TikTok and Zindagi Trust continued their commitment to creating digital safety awareness in Pakistan with another round of workshops in government schools.

Announced earlier this year, this partnership has seen Zindagi Trust conduct over 20 workshops so far in their adopted government schools, impacting nearly 1800 students, teachers, and parents who have learnt about critical aspects of online safety and how they can become responsible digital citizens.

The latest workshops were conducted in Karachi at the SMB Fatima Jinnah Government School and the Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government School, with the aim of disseminating information on how to navigate the digital world securely. Prior to the workshops, surveys were conducted by Zindagi Trust to gauge the level of understanding people have of the internet and its usage and the results were used to prepare contents for the sessions.

Close to 1000 students, aged 13+, attended the workshops, along with 200 teachers and more than 600 parents, to discuss and learn about best practices of internet usage and how they can become responsible digital citizens, to cultivate a safe online community across the nation. The workshops covered a range of topics including; safety features available on TikTok for parents and students, harmful behaviors prevalent on social media, ways to share appropriate information, identifying fake news and misinformation, and reporting mechanisms to report illicit and harmful content.

These workshops also provided an extensive guide on how to be a responsible digital citizen keeping in mind the diverse facets of the digital realm. Awareness regarding countering problems such as falling prey to fake news, cyber harassment, scamming etcetera was shared. Furthermore, the attendees were debriefed on different protection and correction mechanisms, local cyber laws and reporting platforms.

A grade 7 student from SMB Fatima Jinnah quoted: “These sessions taught me about safety features available on TikTok and ways to identify scamming, cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment. It has also helped me navigate social media platforms more safely.”

Mr Adnan, a parent who attended the workshop remarked: “This initiative is unlike any other, I believed I had a comprehensive knowledge about most things digital but I’m walking out having learned so much more.” Another parent stated: “Being here made me realize how important it is to have a progressive dialogue with our children rather than restricting them from digital access, awareness for parents about such topics will definitively help bridge the generational disconnect present.”

Another essential component of the workshops was constructing and strengthening trusting relationships between students, their parents and all school teachers, so students have trusted adults to turn to at schools and at home, in case they find themselves in any sort of cyber trouble.

In order to maximize knowledge retention about this subject, a digital safety module has been included in Life Skills Based Education curriculum in the schools adopted by Zindagi Trust and efforts are underway to promote this intervention across more government schools in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Zindagi Trust is also using its official TikTok account to publish informative videos and create public awareness about online safety.

Related: TikTok, Zindagi Trust launch digital safety workshops
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Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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