by Elton Gomes
Facebook, on Monday, said it has launched its ‘Digital Literacy Library’ in six Indian languages. The library will offer tips on digital safety, and is part of Facebook’s objective to train 3,00,000 Indians in digital literacy by the year-end.
The library will be available in six local languages namely, Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam. Through various efforts, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company has already trained roughly two lakh people in India. Facebook now aims to educate three lakh Indians by the end of 2018.
Facebook made the announcement at its South Asia Safety Summit in New Delhi. The summit was attended by Union Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi.
More than 70 organisations from five countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan attended the event. The summit included discussions among experts on a wide range of topics, from safety and technology.
What is the Digital Literacy Library
Facebook initially launched its Digital Literacy Library in August, with the intention to help young people develop skills needed to safely enjoy online technology.
The Digital Literacy Library is aimed at educators of children aged 11 to 18, and it deals with topics such as privacy, reputation, identity exploration, security, safety, wellbeing, and more.
Facebook launched the initiative in partnership with the Youth and Media team at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. The library contains interactive lessons and videos, which can be downloaded for free. The lessons can be used in the classroom, in after-school programs, or at home.
The lessons and videos have been created from more than 10 years of academic research and have been “built in consultation with teens”. The library’s curriculum is divided into five themes: Privacy and Reputation, Identity Exploration, Positive Behavior, Security, and Community Engagement, and it has 18 lessons in total.
The Digital Literacy Library was launched as part of Facebook’s Safety Center as well as a larger effort to inculcate digital literacy skills among nonprofits, small businesses, and community colleges.
Why was the Digital Literacy Library launched
Facebook noted that the sheer number of young people online made the initiative a necessity. The social media company noted that there are 830 million young people online.
More importantly, the aftermath of digital illiteracy is fairly well-known. People begin to believe hoaxes, propaganda, and fake news. They also end up compromising their personal data by using insecure apps. They either become bullies and/or get bullied online; and they don’t take any measures to protect their online reputation, which could have real-world consequences.
It should also be noted that many teachers lack the educational resources through which they can impart digital literacy in the classroom, or other environments.
Facebook organises child safety hackathon
Along with launching its Digital Literacy Library in six Indian languages, Facebook also organised a two-day child safety hackathon at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.
With a focus on developing solutions to effectively tackle child sex trafficking, all prototypes developed at the hackathon would be donated to NGO partners to help them in their work of protecting children, Facebook said in a statement.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe on Facebook, and we feel it is important that we help people safely navigate the Internet. The launch of the Digital Literacy Library, the child safety hackathon and several offline training programmes we run in partnership with local experts, reaffirm our seriousness in combating online abuse,” Antigone Davis, Global head for Safety at Facebook, said, as per a PTI report.
Facebook reports any type of unwanted exploitative material and violations to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC, who was also present at the summit, works with local law enforcement authorities to help victims.
“The trainings are targeted primarily towards women and youth and are being done in collaboration with organisations such as Cyber Peace Foundation, Learning Links Foundation, Internet and Mobile Association of India, Gaon Connection, and Centre for Social Research, to name a few,” Davis said, IANS reported.
With more than 200 million young Indians online, Facebook’s digital library is sure to help them develop the skills required for safely enjoying digital technology, Facebook said.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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