Popular short video-sharing platform TikTok and Youth Policy Forum (YPF), a knowledge-sharing platform for young Bangladeshis, hosted their first two rounds of online workshops on safe internet usage on Monday, 10 January and Saturday, 15 January, in collaboration with Chittagong University Model United Nations Club and the AUW Sustainable Development Goals Club respectively.
According to a press release, a total of 290 participants joined these workshops from across the country and beyond to get valuable insights about online safety and security.
The online workshops were a part of a four-month campaign titled "Safe Internet, Safe You", by TikTok and YPF aimed at empowering individuals from various regions of Bangladesh, especially the first-time internet users, to access the internet more safely and enlighten them about the various safety features embedded within the application.
Through various engaging quizzes and short sessions in both the workshops, participants were informed about digital literacy, safe internet access and access to justice or cooperation in the digital space. Participants were asked to fill out a pre-evaluation and post-evaluation survey to get a situational analysis.
Participants were also introduced to the general concepts of cyberbullying, phishing, online financial scams etc. They were also informed about how to cope with the effects and instances of cyberbullying or online harassment.
Pradyut Paul, Youth Policy Forum's Grassroots Network Lead, presented a guideline on internet security. The guidelines include tips and instructions such as how passwords should be complex and how PINs or passwords should not be shared with anyone, not even in games or challenges.
Pradyut Paul also presented a detailed presentation on TikTok's policies regarding safer internet for all in order to inform the users of its user-friendly guidelines.
The presentation highlighted the overall approach TikTok adopts when formulating policies and community guidelines including law, social values, culture and how the platform enlists the help of regulatory panels, expert panels and various NGOs, including how the platform enforces its Community Guidelines through actions such as removing content and disabling malicious accounts.
The presentation touched on topics such as violent extremism, violent and graphic content, juvenile safety, unlawful activities and uncontrolled things, suicide, self-harmful and dangerous activities, adult nudity and sexual offenses, hateful behavior, integrity and authenticity.
It also shed light on how TikTok encourages positive interactions by promoting kindness and respect online as well as user-friendly settings and features of the platform such as comment control, time management, blocking and reporting options, direct message control, etc.
The workshops intended to provide a comprehensive understanding of content creation and digital literacy for the participants, as was apparent from the positive feedback received from the participants. Participants admitted that they were not aware of these aspects of TikTok's settings and the community guidelines.
One participant from one of the sessions explained that she feels 'informed' after the workshop. Another participant mentioned that she was encouraged to use TikTok in a safe and responsible way and emphasized how successful these workshops have been in creating awareness among people.
These sessions ended with the online slogan of safe internet access when everyone collectively exclaimed by turning on their cameras—"Safe Ami Digitally."