Recently the CSV Hub met with the Commissioner and staff at the Online Safety Commission in Fiji
Our CSV Hub discussed online safety with the Online Safety Commission in Fiji. Thankyou to Commissioner Anne Dunn and her team – Tajeshwari Devi and Katalaini Vatutalei for meeting with us.
We learnt a lot about the work they do and the services they provide to children and youth – have a read below to find out how you can be informed and stay safe online.
In today’s world, being online is essential. Through the Covid-19 pandemic, the online world has allowed us to continue learning, stay connected with our teachers and classmates, and continue receiving education. It has also allowed us to stay in touch with our family and friends, and enjoy social interactions on the Internet. The Internet can be such a fun place to explore and learn!
With all this time spent online, we must know how to stay safe and how to protect ourselves in the online world. There are some fantastic services available that provide help and support if you are harmed or have an issue online.
What does the OSC do?
The Online Safety Commission (OSC) in Fiji works to promote online safety and empower Fijians to use the Internet and online platforms safely. The Commission provides support and helps to resolve concerns in respect of online abuse, online bullying, online harassment or image-based abuse.
Bullying impacts children under the age of 18 and can occur online, which is called ‘online bullying’. It can occur between children, or between an adult and a child. Sometimes, bullying can transition from a school environment, into the online world. Alternatively, online harassment impacts those aged 18 and over.
How do I report something I am concerned about when online?
The Commission’s support service is available for any person of any age. To make a complaint about a concern online, depending on the Covid-19 circumstances, you can come into the Online Safety Commission office in Fiji in person, to discuss your concern or make a report on the OCS website . Alternatively, a phone call can be made to the Child Helpline on 1325 and is available to you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
If you are below the age of 18, your report (or complaint) must be lodged with your parents, guardian or trusted adult, such as a school teacher who may be aware of the issue. You must let a trusted adult or someone you have a close relationship with know about the issue to receive support from the OSC. However, if you wish to make a complaint via the Child Helpline, you may do so without initially informing a parent or guardian. Through this option, the Commission can support you to talk about your concern with your trusted adult.
What happens when I make a report to the OSC?
The first step in the reporting process is that the complainant/reporter (the person who has been targeted online) will provide all the information about the issue to the Commission.
Then, the Commission will conduct an internal assessment. This will determine the most sensitive way to resolve the issue. For example, if the issue is concerning school bullying that has now transitioned online, the matter may be discussed with the school and their child protection unit. In this case, the Online Safety Commission would work in partnership with the school to resolve the issue. Alternatively, the Commission may provide advice to the complainant, regarding how to protect themselves from online bullying. This advice may include, blocking the offender by using the available online safety tools or reporting on the platform using the reporting mechanism.
It is also important to note that children under the age of 13 are not permitted to use social media platforms, and parents must be aware of this prohibition.
If the issue is regarding exposure to harmful images, explicit content or related to image-based abuse, the issue would be redirected to the Child Protection Unit.
Through the whole resolution process, the child/young person and their guardian would be involved and informed.
Keeping safe and informed together online
The online world gives us so many opportunities to interact and explore, and it should be enjoyed safely. There are lots of tools to help us to stay safe online such as ‘Messenger for Kids’ and ‘Youtube for Kids’ which are great ways to be connected online while being protected from harm.
Most importantly, children and young people should seek to involve their parents and guardians in the activities they do online. It is so important to talk to your parents and guardians about what you are doing online, and who you are interacting with. These conversations will help make sure that you are protected while exploring the online world and your parents and guardians will also learn from you about how to access information online in a safe and enjoyable way.