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JM | Jan 24, 2023

Flow and UNICEF launch U-Report poll on internet safety

/ Our Today

administrator
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Communications and entertainment provider, Flow, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have launched a U-Report poll to better understand the capability of young Jamaicans to protect themselves from online harm.

The poll forms part of Flow’s preparations to recognise the 20th anniversary of Safer Internet Day on February 7, 2023.

U-Report is a messaging tool by UNICEF that empowers young people around the world to add their voices on issues that matter to them. ‘U-Reporters’ in Jamaica are part of a global community of more than 27 million youths aged 13 years and older.

Acting UNICEF Representative Vicente Teran

Acting UNICEF Representative Vicente Teran noted that internet safety for teens has become a greater priority given the increased activities and time spent online.

“Young Jamaicans, like their peers the world over, are spending an increasing amount of time online. What’s more, they are starting even younger. This presents opportunities but also risks. This U-Report poll is an important tool to help us understand what they are experiencing online. The results will enable decision-makers, including the private and public sectors, to design appropriate responses from an informed position. We want to ensure that children and youth can use the internet more safely,” said Teran.

Flow has been supporting U-Report since its launch in Jamaica in 2018. The company allows those without a data plan on its network to send and receive text messages with U-Report for free. In the latest poll, Flow and UNICEF aim to understand teens’ awareness level of internet safety, their ability to stay safe online and will also solicit ideas from the participants on how to better protect young people online.

Kayon Mitchell, communications director at Flow Jamaica. (Photo: Contributed)

Kayon Mitchell, Flow’s communications director and executive director of the Flow Foundation, noted: “Our children are being exposed to the internet at a very young age while enjoying the educational and entertainment benefits, but there are also inherent risks with online use and our youths need to be aware of them and how to respond. Cyberbullying, stolen personal information and exposure to violent and sexual content are everyday risks for our young people. The U-Report poll will give us insight on how we can best use Safer Internet Day to help our youths deal with these challenges when they encounter them.”

Persons can participate in this latest activity by sending the word POLL to U-Report via one of four popular messaging apps:

  • WhatsApp: 876-838-4897
  • SMS (free to send and receive messages for Flow customers): 876-838-4897
  • Instagram: @ureportjamaica
  • Facebook Messenger: @ureportjamaica

Should poll respondents feel triggered, they will also have the option of receiving free counselling from trained counsellors via its free, anonymous and confidential ‘U-Matter’ chatline with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Also supported by Flow, youths can access this service by sending the word SUPPORT at any time to U-Report.

Flow has been recognising Safer Internet Day since 2016 where it combines school visits, panel discussions and influencer marketing. Along with a focus on youths, Flow also offers internet safety tips and activities for children and seniors as part of its mission to enable a safe and reliable digital economy for Jamaicans.

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