Yangon – Telenor Myanmar Limited (“Telenor”) today joined Telenor Group’s global campaign – “Be Smart- Use Heart” – putting digital resilience and online safety on the centre of its annual Customer First Day (“CFD”).

As part of the day’s activities, 20,000 employees reached out to 60,000 children and parents across 13 markets in Europe and Asia in an effort to combat digital bullying. In Myanmar, more than 400 employees met with customers across Yangon and Mandalay to gather insights on mobile internet usage, and share knowledge and tips to protect against digital bullying.

“Customer First Day is an annual event where employees across the Telenor Group take time off their routine tasks to interact with customers directly, meeting them right on the streets. This year’s focus is on safe internet. As Myanmar joins the digital revolution, millions of first time internet users will access the internet right at the palm of their hands, wherever they are, any time of the day. We thus have an opportunity today to raise a generation of digital users who are firstly more resilient to the risks of the online world, and secondly more responsible digital citizens,” said Lars Erik Tellmann, Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Myanmar.

With power comes responsibility

Digital communications open massive opportunities to people everywhere. But as the world is at our fingertips, so are risks of unwanted attention. Telenor’s own Safe Internet studies conducted in late 2015 and early 2016 found a high incidence of cyberbullying in its Asian markets, with 49% of school students in Bangladesh, 37% in Malaysia, and 33% in Thailand having experienced either ‘being bullied or disturbed online’, ‘being bullied by the same person both online and offline’, or even having actually engaged in the act of bullying others online.

“Digital communication and internet access create enormous opportunities for people, business and society. However, the internet does not only connect people with good intentions and this is unfortunately a reality that children can face. We believe it’s important to educate and raise awareness early on so that young people can make wise online choices and be safe online. As a global mobile and internet provider, it is also our responsibility to play a part in addressing this,” said Sigve Brekke, President & Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Group.

He added, “Digital bullying is a challenge that manifests itself in all our markets. Awareness on this, however, varies from country to country, such as in Norway,  where we’ve been online for more than 20 years, to emerging markets in Asia, for example in Myanmar where internet access has only become widespread in the past two years. A common factor though is that the mobile phone has increasingly become children’s primary access point to the internet, making it harder for parents to know what their kids do online and underlining the importance of equipping children as well as parents with Safe Internet knowledge.”

Customer First Day (CFD)

The CFD initiative also included safe internet talks at 11 private and public schools in Yangon and Mandalay, reaching more than 1,200 students and teachers. Telenor’s Light House entrepreneurs across the country will also as part of this initiative reach more than 10,000 students and community members with education about staying safe online.