Mrs Anita Low-Lim - A champion of online safety
Mrs Anita Low-Lim,
Chief Transformation Officer at community organisation Touch Community Services
The Internet is a wonderful space, with abundant opportunities for learning, entertainment and social connections. But it can also be filled with hazards for the young, vulnerable and uninformed, from bullying to online grooming.
Concerned about these potential dangers, Mrs Anita Low-Lim joined the Sunlight Alliance for Action (AfA) to tackle online harms, especially those targeted at women and girls.
The AfA — which the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) convened between Jul 2021 to Jul 2022 — was co-chaired by Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and Senior Parliamentary Secretary Rahayu Mahzam, and comprised 48 representatives from across the people, private and public sectors. It sought to establish support mechanisms for victims of online harms and close the digital safety gap, empowering women and girls to confidently pursue their aspirations in Singapore’s digital future.
With over two decades of experience as the Chief Transformation Officer at community organisation Touch Community Services, Anita is no stranger to championing a good cause.
She oversees the cyber wellness programme at TOUCH, whose work is relevant to Sunlight AfA’s efforts in tackling online harms. “We’ve been focused on the issue of online risk for youth, and felt like we could contribute,” she says.
“Being plugged into a bigger ecosystem [like Sunlight AfA] allows us to pool together resources, expertise and knowledge to combat these issues.”
A Shining Alliance
The name is an expression of the AfA's commitment to shine a light on the dark corners of the online world, lead victims out of darkness, and create a brighter digital future for current and future generations.
I've heard many stories about youth — girls especially — meeting strangers online, receiving [unsolicited] texts, reading bullying comments, being sent pornographic images or asked to send revealing photos to strangers over social media,” Anita shares.
A Sunlight AfA webinar in February 2022 — held on Safer Internet Day — featured a panel of experts who delved into online harms and how to manage the issue.
To better understand the views of different demographics (such as students, young adults and parents) regarding online safety and identify gaps in educational efforts on online harms, Anita and her team at TOUCH Community Services partnered the AfA to conduct a series of focus group discussions in June 2022. These findings will inform the development of a roadmap with recommendations on tailored education programmes to equip different target groups (like youths and parents) with the knowledge and skills to keep themselves and their loved ones safe online.
To help safeguard youths against online risks, fostering trust between parent and children is paramount. “As parents, it’s important to develop a trusting relationship with our children,” Anita explains. “This allows parents to develop empathy for the issues their children are facing, and expertise to deal with those issues.”
Ultimately, Anita believes that trust plays a central role in safeguarding vulnerable youth: “As parents, empathy is the most important thing we can have for our children. They must see us truly understanding their problems to have honest conversations.”
Sunlight AfA’s educational programme and online resources are some ways parents can equip themselves to safeguard their children. As part of this group effort, Sunlight AfA has also trained youth to be part of a support group for their vulnerable peers, so that they’re better equipped to help their friends.
Anita is eager to stress that tackling the dangers of the Internet does not have to be a lonely endeavour: “If the issue gets too challenging, reach out to others, whether it be responsible adults, teachers in schools, social workers or the police.”
Safeguard yourself and your loved ones with the knowledge and resources available at Sunlight AfA.
The Singapore Together Alliances for Action (AfAs) bring together people from the People, Private and Public sectors to create solutions for complex issues.
Published on 12 December 2022.
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