昨晚有幸和Facebook的網絡安全專家 Mia Garlick 以及本港的學者和非牟利機構會面,包括香港青年協會香港小童群益會,一起探討如何為年輕人建立一個更安全的網上世界。

香港有超過九成人使用Facebook, 其中不少是年輕人。Facebook 在亞太區推出不少安全工具,確保青年可以放心使用Facebook,其工作十分有意義。

除了Facebook之外,其他持份者的支持也相當重要。很多網上欺凌的案件以及其他網上風險,是跨平台的。就個人行為來說,線上和線下的分別亦漸趨模糊。我們要做好校內教育和社工外展工作,加強媒體宣傳和相關的法律規管。

「網上安全」的條件有很多——上網成癮、網上滋擾、仇恨言論、假新聞,甚至個人私隱,這些都與網上安全有關。當然,這些問題有不同的解決方法,但席間大家得出一些初步的結論。

我們要改善年輕人的數碼能力和網路素養。青年用家除了要對網上存在的風險提高警惕以外,亦要懂得辨認網上資訊的真假,有效、安全地使用不同的社交媒體平台。另一方面,前線社工提到有些網上用家彷彿認為他們不用為線上行為負責,電腦顯示屏減少了人與人之間的尊重,令人低估自身行為對別人的影響。我們必須在這方面加強教育。以網絡欺凌為例,旁觀者其實有能力加劇或制止欺凌行為。

要改善網絡安全,預防和教育最重要。然而,何謂網上有害行為,不論是海外或本港的社區都未有共識,這令宣傳工作難上加難。網上平台和用語日新月異,要真正了解年輕人的線上行為和背後原因,對症下藥,亦不容易。因此,跨界別交流,有助社會就基本定義和最佳做法達成共識,更有效地規劃將來的工作。希望這一次會面,為未來更多的交流奠定基礎。

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Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting with Facebook’s Asia Pacific online safety expert Mia Garlick and Hong Kong academics and NGOs, including The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) and The Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong (BGCA) to discuss how to make the Internet a safer and better place for youth.

Facebook shared what it is doing to enhance safety for users. More than 90% of the Hong Kong population uses Facebook so it is encouraging to see so many meaningful initiatives on their part.

But we also need other stakeholders’ support. Many cyberbullying cases and other risks on the Internet occur across platforms. The line between offline and online behaviour is increasingly blurred. So we need to strengthen work on all fronts, from school education to social workers’ outreach to media campaigns to legal intervention.

Online safety is also a broad term and it requires us to address issues like Internet addiction, cyberstalking, hate speech, fake news and privacy concerns. While solutions to these problems are varied, some common themes emerged.

We need to improve our youth’s digital and media literacy and Internet etiquette. Young users should be more alert as to Internet risks, more skilful in finding and using information online as well as in utilising various social media platforms. At the same time, we should not neglect the other side of the equation. Oftentimes a computer screen reduces people’s empathy and respect for others, and accountability for their own actions. It makes people less mindful of the impact of their actions and less willing to help others. We talked about inactive bystanders on social media which makes cyberbullying all the more harmful.

Prevention and education must be the way forward. Yet a major hurdle in awareness raising is the difficulty in defining Internet unsafe or unacceptable behaviour. Another complication is understanding and responding to online behaviour in an appropriate and timely manner, given that new platforms and Internet language emerge everyday. This is why stakeholders’ exchange is critical for the local community to move closer to reaching a consensus on fundamental definitions and best practices, as well as on next steps ahead. Hopefully, this will be the first of many similar occasions.

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