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Singtel and DQ Institute to introduce digital intelligence programme to primary schools in Singapore

Study shows over 50% of 8 - 12 year olds in Singapore exposed to cyber risks   

Singapore, 6 February 2018 – Singtel and the DQ Institute are collaborating to nurture digital intelligence among children by engaging primary schools in Singapore. Called #DQEveryChild, this programme is aimed at helping children use digital technology and media in safe, responsible and effective ways as they spend increasingly more time on digital devices. The DQ Institute is an international coalition spearheaded by Singtel and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in association with the World Economic Forum to improve digital education through cross-sector collaborations, global dialogue and research.

Children in Singapore face cyber risks, study shows

A DQ Institute report released today in association with Singtel on the current state of online child safety and digital citizenship in Singapore revealed 54% of children aged 8 to 12 are exposed to cyber risks. These risks include cyber bullying, video game addiction, offline meetings and online sexual behaviour. The country’s score is just a little lower than the global average of 56%. This report was issued in conjunction with the institute’s publication of its inaugural DQ Impact report, based on a multi-nation study of 38,000 8 to 12 year olds across 29 countries.

The Singapore report’s key findings show that:

- Children aged 8 to 12 spend more time online for entertainment compared to the global average – 35 hours per week compared to 32 hours per week respectively.

- Children who own a mobile phone spend an average of 44 hours per week online, which is 15 more hours per week compared to children who do not own a mobile phone.

- Children have a higher propensity of being highly active in social media when they own a mobile phone.

- 70% of children who own a mobile phone and are highly active in social media are exposed to cyber risk compared to 45% of children who do not own a mobile phone.

- Children who own a mobile phone and who are not highly active in social media have similar risk exposure and screen time as children who do not own a mobile phone.

Teaching good digital habits to primary school children through #DQEveryChild programme

The good news is that educating and equipping children with the skills to be responsible and savvy digital users can help them thrive in the digital world.

#DQEveryChild is a combination of online education tools and real-time assessment which is available for free via an online platform called Singtel is funding the programme which is expected to be introduced to all primary schools in Singapore in 2018.

Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, Singtel’s CEO of Consumer Singapore, said, “Teaching cyber wellness to children and youth has been a key focus of the Singtel Group’s community sustainability efforts since 2013. We believe in the power of digital technology to empower everyone and we want to help them experience the benefits of the digital world.”

“We recognise that education and awareness is only one aspect as the use of digital devices becomes more prevalent among children. Our joint funding and partnerships in counselling helplines like Help123 in Singapore, provides an added level of intervention and support not only for children, but increasingly their parents and educators,” added Mr Yuen.

Dr Yuhyun Park, Founder of the DQ Institute said, “From an early age, our children's use of social media through personal mobile phones has been excessive. Before they start actively engaging in social media or owing their mobile phone, we need to empower our children with digital citizenship skills to mitigate cyber risks and maximise the opportunity of technology.”

A pilot study of #DQEveryChild conducted in Singapore early last year in collaboration with Singtel, NTU, IMDA/Media Literacy Council and TOUCH Cyber Wellness, found that children who completed the programme showed a 13% improvement in their digital intelligence quotient score, and a corresponding 18% reduction in cyber risks. The digital intelligence quotient or DQ measures a person’s ability and command of digital technology and media.

Singtel Group members Optus and Globe partner DQ Institute

Based on the success in Singapore, #DQEveryChild has since grown into a global movement covering countries such as Australia and the Philippines where the Singtel Group also has presence through Optus and Globe.

Mr Yuen said, “We are pleased to partner and support the DQ Institute in the development of #DQEveryChild and its rollout in Singapore, Australia and the Philippines. While much more work is still needed, we are very encouraged by the positive results we have seen in the Singapore pilot.”