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ChildFund’s Swipe Safe

Young people face risks in many of the environments they live, work and play. As technology increasingly becomes involved, the associated risks need our careful attention.

Through technology, young people may be targeted by scams, experience bullying, or be exposed to sexual, racist, or other inappropriate content. They may encounter these risks through their searches, via social media, video, gaming or chat and communication platforms. The remarkably fast pace of technological development means the way young people are engaging with technology, and the types of risks they face are also shifting and changing fast. It’s important that we keep up in the way we look out for them.

In 2017, ChildFund Australia developed Swipe Safe – a tailor-made training package to skill up young people in developing countries to safely navigate their lives online. Swipe Safe balances the benefits of being online with awareness of possible risks. It facilitates learning by allowing the young people to use smart phones throughout all the sessions so they can practice the skills they need.

The Swipe Safe training for young people is delivered by savvy youth facilitators – trained and supported by our staff – who take the younger participants through a series of activities over three afternoon sessions. Together they practice things like enabling the safety and security features of popular apps and interacting with hypothetical stories of risks they may face.

Fundamentally, Swipe Safe is built around six internet concepts that have a universality in guiding all online engagements:

Public: Any information you post or share online, even if you do it privately, has the possibility to be shared or accessed.

Permanent: Whatever we post on the internet will remain on the internet forever.

Connections: The internet allows us to connect with people all over the world, but not everyone is trustworthy.

Anonymity: The internet means that people online can hide who they are. Some people might do this to harm or take advantage.

Sources of information: We have access to a lot of information, but it Is important to think about if it is accurate and reliable.

Respect: When engaging via our screens we can forget that we are connecting with other people. It is important to be respectful to others, and ourselves.

Swipe Safe continues to be delivered in Vietnam – where it was born and has already reached more than 12,000 young people. In 2020 we started to roll it out in Solomon Islands. Preparations are well underway to expand its reach to young people in Cambodia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste in early 2023.

It’s part of our strategy to keep growing Swipe Safe as an integral part of the work we do to keep children safe in Australia’s corner of the world.

You can help us do this by becoming a regular supporter. Fifty dollars helps us give another young person nine hours of training to help keep them safe online.

Sign up for our newsletter in the page footer below, to hear more about the ways that ChildFund is keeping children safe online in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Our Research

In 2020, we commissioned Western Sydney University to conduct research with young people and parents in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Kiribati that we used to inform the adaptation and development of the Swipe Safe curriculum for the Pacific, and for work we are doing to lobby governments to have a stronger focus on online safety.

Download Report

Web Safe and Wise – A Global Campaign

The global ChildFund Alliance of 11 organisations working with children in more than 60 countries recognizes the unparalleled importance – and risks – that technology plays in young people’s lives all over the world. The Web Safe and Wise campaign aims to help children to access the potential benefits of the digital environment while also promoting mechanisms and support – like Swipe Safe – to keep them safe.

You can read the policy brief here.

Or see the policy aims we are advocating with national governments here