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Online Safety and Digital Citizenship

Forging a New Frontier in Peacebuilding and Education

Education experts and IT professionals discussed how digital technologies and the recent explosion of connectivity present risks of extremism, cyberbullying, threats to security, and privacy violations, especially for the world’s youth population and educators, at a Peacesharing 2021 Virtual Forum panel, “Online Safety and Digital Citizenship” on March 24.

Dr. Lisa Schirch, a Senior Research Fellow with the Tokyo-based Toda Peace Institute, shared how the institute’s Digital Peace Factory project uses a meme campaign to empower students to navigate digital spaces in a responsible and creative manner.  A best practice and objective, she said, is to create “mindful engagement” of youth, including online discussions.

Dr. Maryam Lawal, a young professional at the World Bank’s Digital Development Global Practice in Washington D.C, drew from her expert knowledge to advise educators on how to maximize the benefits of the digital environment for children, yet understand the risk landscape.  Her important insights in training youth and educators in digital technology deployment were well-received and grounded in World Bank expertise.

Explaining how online content and conduct influence the character of an individual’s digital identity, Oracle Academy’s HCH Senior Solution Engineer Ijeoma Nwoke described the imprint of online activity as a “digital tattoo,” while Nicole Punzi, a young scholar and Global Peace Foundation Organizational Development Associate shared her perspectives on how to prepare youth to identify, anticipate and react to online risks.  

The panel provided links to research reports, publications, and project pages related to online best practices to international zoom participants.   The two-day forum, “Forging a New Frontier in Peacebuilding and Education,” was organized by Global Peace Foundation and Co-operation Ireland, with more than 500 participants from 69 countries. The panel on online safety was moderated by Cat Lockman, International Director of Organizational Development at the Global Peace Foundation.