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Facebook’s digital literacy program provides practical lessons on data privacy

An expanded version of Facebook Philippines’ Digital Tayo program, a local adaptation of the social network’s digital literacy program, addresses the recent shift to digital learning by providing new lessons on privacy, managing passwords, and cybersecurity. 

Modules on digital engagement and digital empowerment, meanwhile, help students interpret cultural and social differences, and how to participate in public matters and advocate for issues they care about. Digital Tayo 2.0 also aims to foster a positive online community through modules on community engagement and news verification.

The program builds on the 2019 release, which provided free resources aimed at equipping Filipino netizens with skills for a digital world. One of the first modules created helped parents teach their children how to safely navigate the Internet. The program has since trained more than 400,000 individuals across the country through face-to-face workshops, and has created a community of 2,000 Digital Tayo trainers. 

“Content was generated for both 2019 and 2021 through consultations with experts and our partners,” said Clare Amador, head of public policy of Facebook Philippines, at the expanded program’s media launch. “We looked at what was happening in the market. We also consulted psychology experts to see what fits both the Filipino psyche and the general audience. Our partners were very willing to provide inputs.” 

The Philippine team, she said, targeted 1 million people in 2019 — a number they considered ambitious given that the training was done face-to-face. “We have since been able to reach more than 5 million people with this online shift,” Ms. Amador said. “It enabled us to reach those Filipinos not based in the Philippines. We were even able to conduct digital literacy to OFWs (overseas Filipino workers).”

The program’s collection of resources is meant to encompass all ages and digital literacy levels, said Chris Kuzhuppilly, public policy manager of Facebook Philippines.

“The intention was to cover everyone — from parents to students to educators,” he added. “For our younger audiences, we developed infographics and videos that are interactive and more appealing.”

Modules are also being developed in local languages such as Filipino and Cebuano.

Among the program’s 21 civil society and government partners is Plan International, an independent development and humanitarian organization working in 71 countries worldwide. According to Shigemi Muramatsu, Plan International’s campaigns and advocacy specialist, digital citizenship should be treated at the same level as communications classes, computer literacy, and values education. 

“Digital citizenship is a compendium of the important skills of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity,” Ms. Muramatsu said in a press statement. “What we love about this collaboration is that we are able to address the problem through different points of view, making our efforts stronger and well-rounded across sectors.” — Patricia B. Mirasol 

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