AGC’s cybercrime education reaches younger audience

National 2 minutes, 10 seconds

BELAIT

AS BRUNEIANS are being exposed to online and social media at an increasingly younger age, the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) has expanded its public talks on cybercrime to include a younger audience.

Representatives from AGC were at the Belait Arabic School yesterday delivering a first-ever briefing on the risks and dangers posed by social media to more than 170 students, half of which were primary-level pupils as young as ten years-old.

AGC Legal Officer Siti Nurjauinah Hj Kula said that the initiative was driven by the rationale that Bruneians are using social media at younger ages.

"If you want to deal with the problem (of cybercrime), you have to nip it in the bud... We asked the students who owned mobile phones and 90 per cent of them do. Before, Internet wasn't easily available. Now, you can access it through your phone," said Siti.

Moreover, she said, with faster Internet delivery and the lack of privacy settings on many smartphone applications and Internet browsers, children have unrestricted access to online material and social contact.

The AGC representatives delivered a simpler, more consise version of the briefings normally given to older secondary school students, also conducting the sessions in Malay to ensure a better understanding among the young audience. The material is also censored to minimise exposure to more adult-themed terminology.

The Legal Officer said that initial findings show that primary-level students were much less aware of cybercrime implications and severity of offences, compared to secondary- or college-level students who tend to focus on technical issues with offences and the law.

She gave an example where primary-level students seemed to be surprised to learn that victims were also charged when cases were brought to prosecution. Primary-level students also appeared to be shyer in asking questions.

Siti added that AGC is now extending their services on cybercrime and social media briefings to primary schools, inviting interested schools to contact AGC for this.

"Our next target will be a primary school... when we ask schools what their biggest problem is with cybercrime, they say that it is cyber-bullying," said Siti.

Belait Arabic School Education Officer Nazurah Abdullah told The Brunei Times that the school had yet to face major issues with cybercrime but that the school was monitoring their online activities.

"All of our students are actively using social media such as Facebook, while most of them have formed groups on WhatsApp to keep in touch. The need for awareness is necessary," said Nazurah.

The session closed with the school's headmistress Ustazah Hjh Noramalina Hj Md Ali presenting souvenirs of appreciation to the AGC representatives.

The Brunei Times