Supported by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platform, the Digital Nagrik campaign, launched in February this year, led by teachers and inspired by the vision of MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar, aims to create an inclusive and safe internet for young users.
Manav Subodh, the founder of 1M1B (One Million for One Billion) — an Indian organization that develops and mobilizes the future technology workforce — told News18 that the Digital Nagrik campaign aligns with the central government’s goal of creating an open, secure, trusted and responsible internet for citizens.
“1M1B educates youth and accelerates the development of India’s future-proof technology workforce. Our young boys and girls who will lead our country as a digital superpower need to learn how to be safe online, how to fight disinformation and fake news, tackle cyberbullying and make the internet safe and more inclusive,” said Subodh.
He further explained that although the campaign was launched this year, 1M1B has done the same over the past year and as a result more than 3.5 lakh teachers and 12 lakh students from over 3000 schools have participated in digital citizenship training programs .
According to him, 1M1B hopes to reach more than 10 million students across India in the next three years with the Digital Nagrik campaign.
Digital rights and responsibility
A Digital Nagrik is a citizen who engages in a positive, critical and competent digital environment that respects human rights and dignity through responsible and safe use of technology and according to the founder of 1M1B, these people should be aware of their digital rights and obligations.
Subodh explained that in the age of AI and Web 3.0, while increasing digital adoption in everyday life is admirable, it also brings significant cybersecurity challenges that need to be addressed.
“So here comes the role of Digital Nagriks – to protect students and young people from an early age and create a responsible mindset as it is important to create awareness about the do’s and don’ts of using the internet. Our system needs to immediately implement netiquette in our education system to prepare young minds for infinite possibilities,” he added.
Subodh said that to this end, a digital citizenship skills curriculum has been developed in 2022 by teachers managed by 1M1B and supported by Meta, which has introduced CBSE as a skills subject for grades 6-8.
He also stated that digital etiquette, cybersecurity, cyberbullying, information literacy, using the internet for social good and the future of the digital world, including AI, AR/VR and the metaverse, are among the topics covered in the digital citizenship courses .
“The campaign, Digital Nagrik, is an extension of the curriculum and aims to prepare students from school to become responsible digital citizens,” he added.
Meta’s CEO Zuckerberg announced at the 2021 Meta Fuel for India Summit the company’s vision to engage 10 million students and 1 million educators in India in key areas of digital citizenship, AR and VR.
As part of this commitment, a number of initiatives are being implemented in India for students, teachers and educators, including the CBSE school’s Digital Citizenship and AR/VR skills curriculum.
Subodh of 1M1B said: “Meta also recently announced the #DigitalSuraksha campaign to provide a safer and inclusive internet, and the Digital Nagrik Pledge is part of this campaign to remind people that building a more secure cyberspace is a collective responsibility belongs to all of us.”
However, he went on to explain that while government organizations have done their part to raise online safety awareness across India, the Digital Nagrik campaign is mainly targeting students across India and teaching them how to be responsible digital users from a young age.
“Digital Nagrik is an effort to ensure that Digital India is led by responsible digital citizens who will make cyberspace safer and more inclusive. The campaign has multiple strands including the Pledge, Curriculum, Training, Awareness, Rewarding Student Challenges and more,” Subodh noted.
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