Keeping children in Sri Lanka safe and empowered online
A study of Sri lanka's digital landscape: Potential risks to children and young people who are online
The past decades have seen digital technology transform the world in which we live. Whilst many of us can remember life before these technologies were in mainstream use, for our children and young people who have grown up online, life is unimaginable without them.
Digital technology has disrupted entire industries and changed the social landscape. The changes they have ushered in have been broad and are ongoing. Childhood is no exception. Undoubtedly, these technologies have the potential to be a game changer for children, especially those from vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, offering them new opportunities to learn, socialize and make their voices heard. However, they can also be yet another dividing line, exacerbating and enabling inequities to prevail.
The Digital Landscape Study explores the way adolescents access and use digital technology in Sri Lanka at present. While identifying gaps in knowledge about children’s digital media practices and their online safety, the report provides some key recommendations for government, NGO’s and the private sector that will help to ensure that digital technologies, and the access to the internet that they afford, bring the maximum benefits to children and young people individually, and to their communities and the country as a whole.
Key to this will be a more proactive approach to protecting children from harm - including abuse, exploitation, trafficking, cyberbullying and exposure to unsuitable materials - and securing their privacy as they become prone to risks both online and off line. Also vital will be ensuring equal access to these technologies and the internet to all children and young people, irrespective of gender or geographical location. Of further importance will be ensuring our young people are digitally literate, and able to make the best, and most informed use of the digital tools at their disposal.