Not for Profit Consortium Paves Way for Cyber-Safety for Kids LEADS, Save the Children International and World Vision Lanka broaden its reach and impact in ending online violence

12th June 2020; LEADS, Save the Children International, and World Vision Lanka, as non-profit organisa-

tions working with vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka, have come together as a consortium to broaden

its reach and impact in ending online violence and exploitation against children in Sri Lanka. Recently, the

consortium joined hands with the Ministry of Education and the State Ministry of Women and Child De-

velopment, Pre-School & Primary Education, School Infrastructure & Education Services to launch an on-

line learning programme to address the importance of cyber-safety among school-going children. This

online learning programme is available at www.cybersafety.lk, free of charge for all students in all three

languages.

The internet is an ideal learning hub for kids; be it for school, playing games, or even to simply keep in

touch with friends. Unfortunately, the internet is also a hub for paedophiles, online predators, identity

thieves, and sources of other jaded content. Therefore, it is essential that young users be made aware of

how to use the internet productively and be safe online. This is rapidly becoming a vital requirement as

the lifestyles of most adults and children are now closely intertwined with the internet. INTERPOL and

child protection agencies worldwide have found a rapid increase of online sexual exploitation of children

during the global pandemic and the WeProtect Global Alliance warns that the lockdown situation has ex-

acerbated existing drivers of online child sexual exploitation and other types of violence against children

online.

Most children are self-assured that they are aware of how to be safe online. However, they may not al-

ways be aware of the consequences of their actions online, which may result in them facing many dan-

gers. These dangers may materialise in the form of cyberbullies, paedophiles, and stalkers, who prey on

young users with the aim of exploiting children or to gain financial or other benefits. Due to the swift

growth in the use of the internet (post-quarantine) by children around the island, the consortium felt the

pressing need to instruct children on how to be safe online. Towards this, an interactive online course was

developed by the consortium which will be freely available for all children.

The interactive course covers many key areas, giving children a basic understanding of the Internet and

its many uses, how to discriminate when sharing personal information, practicing caution, when sharing

images, standing up against cyberbullying; identifying phishing scams and other forms of online thefts

and on how to be responsible cyber citizens. The course is compiled with animated briefs and real-life

scenarios so that, the learning experience will provide students with a 360 degree understanding of how

to be safe on the internet. The interactive online course will be made available free of charge to all stu-

dents on the E-Thaksalawa educational website hosted by the Ministry of Education in English, Sin-

halese and Tamil. In order to ensure ease of access to young students, the course is compatible with mo-

bile phones, tablets, and personal computers.

If you are a parent or teacher, you too can contribute towards the safety of your children and students by

registering them for this online course and ensuring that they are aware of all there is to know about the

world of the internet, along with its online dangers, so that they are equipped to make better and more

informed decisions for themselves.

This project is launched and initiated by LEADS, Save the Children International, and World Vision Lanka

with the support of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Services.