Community Series #6 - Digital Intelligence

30 Sep 2019

Singtel:    Download all slides here  |  View video here
DQ Institute: View video here

Cyber wellness is an issue that impacts everyone, so how can one organisation structure a holistic corporate giving programme around it? Singtel held our sixth Community Series, detailing how their cyber wellness programme has evolved through the years.

Here are three key insights from the session.

1. The necessity of Digital Intelligence

From the spread of misinformation to cyber bullying, the digital age moves quick and comes fraught with risks that society at large may not be equipped to anticipate, let alone handle. What are the core skills that we need to manage such risks, especially for vulnerable children? DQ Institute’s work aims to answer just that, setting up a global framework detailing a comprehensive set of competencies that make up what they term as “Digital Intelligence”, defined as “the sum of social, emotional and cognitive abilities that enable individuals to face the challenges and adapt to the demands of digital life”.

Through her work at nonprofit Infollution Zero, and now at DQ Institute, founder Dr Park Yuhyun shared that her core belief has always been that a safer digital world is not just about parents teaching their children how to safely navigate the web, but about society at large working together in educating others and mitigating digital risks

Beyond educating children on how to be a responsible digital citizen, this belief has also driven Dr Park to work with corporates and governments to raise the awareness of digital intelligence, which recently led to the adoption of the DQ framework as a global standard for digital literacy, skills and readiness.

2. Picking strategic partners

These standards, which would provide the same terms and measurements to foster global cross-sector collaborations, were supported and adopted by many corporates and governments around the world, Singtel being one of them. As the largest mobile network operator in Singapore, Singtel provides data on the move to many Singaporeans, including youths. This provided a unique opportunity to educate the younger generation, who lacked the knowledge to protect themselves.

To establish credibility and legitimacy in their first foray into digital wellness initiatives, they decided to work with TOUCH Community Services as a strategic partner, given the latter’s strong work in advocating against cyber bullying. Together, the two launched website notanoobie for parents packed with tips and resources that answered questions such as how old kids should be before being given a mobile phone, and a cyber wellness toolkit tailored to special education (SPED) schools which Singtel was already working with for other initiatives. Such a partnership tapped into the various expertise and resources of the parties involved – Singtel as a telco with access to youths and with working experience with SPED schools, and TOUCH as a leading advocate against cyber bullying.

They also worked with several other partners for other initiatives, such as with the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) in establishing Singapore’s first one-stop helpline for cyber-wellness, with the helplines manned by TOUCH counsellors and webchats managed by Fei Yue Community Services.

3. Growing issues demand growing solutions

Singtel’s initiatives had been intended for children and youths, as it was their belief that digital competencies should be instilled from a young age, but when their helpline began receiving calls from adults with their own issues, they realised the initiatives had to go beyond just educating youths, just as Dr Park noted.

One demographic they looked at was the elderly, who were just as vulnerable as children, but yet faced a different set of risks, falling for credit scams being one of them. This cause was taken up by the marketing team at Singtel, launching a silver mobile clinic that imparted cyber wellness skills to the group.

A new perspective Singtel took was on the readiness of Singapore’s workforce to tackle cyber security risks, and the company is looking to step up their efforts to groom cyber security talents as part of Singapore’s national digital blueprint. These varied perspectives show that even with issues as seemingly narrow as digital wellness, the solutions must be able to grow and adapt to fit the needs of the intended audience.