CyberPeace Foundation and WhatsApp on Tuesday announced the launch of the second phase of its ‘Cyber Ethics and Online Safety Programme’, under which the initiative will reach about 10,000 students.

The programme will be extended to Assam, Rajasthan and Gujarat, and aims to reach 10,000 students on important topics related to cybersecurity and online safety, according to a statement.

Launched in consultation with UNICEF and state police authorities, the programme will train teachers, parents and students using a co-created curriculum and equip them with tips and tricks to increase online safety for children, it added.

At the end of these training sessions, the participants will create a ‘CyberPeace Club’ to ensure that this knowledge is further institutionalised and manage a repository of guidance that other students can refer to for boosting online safety.

“We value this important association with WhatsApp that empowers people with education about Digital Citizenship, Cyber Ethics, Online Safety and Cyber Security. And, we will continue in our endeavour to increase the awareness among users about staying safe online,” CyberPeace Foundation founder Vineet Kumar said.

WhatsApp India Director (Public Policy) Shivnath Thukral said the response to the first phase of the partnership has been encouraging with the immense impact it has generated around the important issue of online safety.

“In the last one year, particularly during the pandemic, people’s time spent online increased tremendously.

“As a leading messaging service in the consumer-tech space, we think it is now more important than ever to champion digital citizenship and we are sincerely invested in driving awareness about online safety and cyber security,” he added.

He noted that the privacy and safety of users is of utmost importance to us.

“While WhatsApp has no visibility to the content of messages between a sender and a receiver as it’s a service based on end-to-end encrypted technology, we continue to work closely with industry experts, Government/s academia and with credible associates like CyberPeace Foundation to drive greater awareness and education about keeping users safe, online,” Thukral said.

In the first phase, the programme created awareness about safe online behaviour among students across five Indian states of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Over a period of six months, 16,201 students (between 13 to 18 years) were sensitised on various aspects of online safety.

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