Safer Internet Youth Summit takes centrestage
Flow Vice President and General Manager, Stephen Price (second right), and Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Daryl Vaz (right), talk technology with representatives from the National Secondary Students’ Council (NSSC) at the launch of Flow’s Safer Internet campaign, #ConnectedandProtected. Representing the NSSC are Jamaica College’s Cavan Lewis (left), Public Relations Officer, President Dannyelle-Jordan Bailey (second left) of St Hugh’s High School for Girls, and St Jago’s Xavier Walker (centre), Region 6 Assistant Vice President.

The Flow Foundation marks the 20th anniversary of Safer Internet Day with its annual Youth Summit at the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium at Jamaica College on Tuesday.

The summit will be attended by more than 500 high school students and will feature insightful panel discussions led by personalities Dr Terri-Karelle Reid, Wayne Mitchell and Quite Perry. Joel Nomdarkham, social media and personal branding expert, and media maven Debbie Bissoon return for hosting duties.

Under the theme ‘Connected and Protected’, the panel will tackle broad issues affecting teens such as cyberbullying, data theft and online predators, while placing equal emphasis on how the internet can be used as a force for good to thwart some of the risks associated with online use.

Danyelle-Jordan Bailey, President of the National Secondary Students’ Council (NSSC) and a Youth Summit panellist, said the event will allow students to really think about how they can be smarter online.

“This is a good opportunity for students to think about the challenges they’re experiencing within the online space, and not just identify the challenges, but find the solutions to them,” the St. Hugh’s High School sixth-former said.

To further integrate online safety among the student population, the Flow Foundation has also established a J$1.5m Safer Internet School Grant. Schools can tap into the grant by submitting a project proposal on how they would promote internet safety. The schools with the best implementable ideas can access up to $250,000 to bring their project to life.

This new element was particularly appealing to the NSSC President who further added: “In offering the solutions, the schools get a reward and they can then implement their plan within their school community. So, it’s an amazing opportunity for students to see their work come to life and to actually conceptualise and implement something that’s good for them.”

The Flow Foundation has been a long-time advocate for internet safety by championing safer and more positive online behaviour and habits. According to UNICEF, more than a third of young people report being cyberbullied and around 80 per cent say they feel in danger of sexual abuse or exploitation online. These statistics point to a need for more intervention from the public and private sectors.

Chairman of the Flow Foundation and Vice President and General Manager for Flow Jamaica, Stephen Price, said the Youth Summit will provide the knowledge students need while the Grant will provide the opportunity for them to take action on what they’ve learnt.

“By empowering schools to actively participate in the safer internet movement, this initiative is meant to better integrate online safety in the school culture. It is a wonderful opportunity for students to share their creativity with powerful messages around an area of growing importance, especially for teenagers,” Price remarked.

He added: “As a leading communications and entertainment provider in Jamaica and the region, Flow and our parent company, Liberty Latin America, are proud to be a part of this global initiative of creating safer online spaces.”

Other ‘Connected and Protected’ safer internet activities include a Seniors’ Forum on February 21, which will be followed throughout the year by a student ambassador programme from March to May, parents’ sessions in the summer and a seniors’ sensitisation programme from September to November.

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