Google recently held its inaugural Safer with Google event in Singapore, reaffirming its dedication to promoting online safety. The event, graced by esteemed guests including Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mrs Josephine Teo, and Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ms Sun Xueling, showcased Google’s new and expanded initiatives aimed at enhancing digital literacy and resilience against online threats through collaboration with the wider community.

Ben King, Managing Director of Google Singapore, emphasized the importance of the company’s announcements, stating, “Everyone deserves to feel safe online. As we increasingly rely on the internet, it is more important than ever to be aware of rising threats like scams and to take action against bad actors. Our collaboration with like-minded partners from the public and private sectors will help us empower all segments of society to tackle online harm and threats together as we create a better online world for all.”

Promoting Digital Literacy Among Vulnerable Segments of Society

While over 96% of Singapore’s population are internet users, not everyone possesses equal knowledge to navigate the online landscape safely, particularly young children and seniors who are still learning to use the internet effectively. Google has prioritized efforts to reach these segments through its digital literacy programs, equipping them with skills to protect themselves from harmful online experiences.

Last August, Google committed to training 50,000 parents and children on cyberbullying, misinformation, and privacy through its Be Internet Awesome program and Google Online Safety Park. It has also introduced tools such as Family Link to help families establish healthy digital habits and supervised experiences on YouTube, providing children and teens with a safe and controlled space to explore. Google has achieved its goal and committed to training an additional 50,000 parents and children in online safety in collaboration with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Media Literacy Council (MLC), bringing the total to 100,000 by 2024.

Doreen Tan, Assistant Chief Executive, Strategic Planning and Digital Readiness at IMDA, expressed support for the collaboration, stating, “As digital becomes more pervasive in how we live, work, and play in our daily lives, it is ever more important that we ourselves learn and help others around us learn how to be safe, be smart, and be kind online. IMDA is glad to work with Google and the Media Literacy Council (MLC), in support of the Digital for Life national movement, to guide parents and children with tools and resources about online safety. With this, we hope that families will be better equipped to use the online space safely and responsibly.”

Beyond kids and parents, Google aims to develop more online safety champions among seniors by collaborating with community groups. To address the rise in scams in Singapore, Google is strengthening its partnership with RSVP Singapore, The Organisation of Senior Volunteers, through Project PRAISE. PRAISE (Police-RSVP Anti-Scam Engagement) is an initiative by the non-profit organization and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to raise scam awareness among seniors. Google will enhance the training curriculum and provide additional training to over 100 RSVP Senior Volunteers, who are trained PRAISE Advocates. These advocates will educate 2,000 seniors within a year on how to better identify scams. The first session commenced with 70 seniors at the Google office.

YouTube will also run its Asia-first program, Creators for Impact, for the second year to engage creators who want to use their voices as agents of change. In partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), the program will collaborate closely with local creators such as The Smart Local, Geek Culture, and Sethisfy Personal Finance to develop content ideas that raise greater awareness about scam prevention.

Additional Initiatives and Collaborations is supporting the ASEAN Foundation’s ASEAN Digital Literacy Program in collaboration with Bamboo Builders, a Singapore partner. The initiative aims to build a community of youth and elderly trainers who will educate 2,000 seniors and low-income families on recognizing misinformation, detecting and preventing hoaxes, and curbing the spread of fake news.

To combat online harms, YouTube is welcoming four Singaporean organizations—Limitless, Samaritans of Singapore Ltd, SG Her Empowerment (SHE), and TOUCH Community Services—to its YouTube Priority Flagger Program (YTPFP). This program works alongside government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to flag content that violates YouTube’s Community Guidelines. These organizations possess specialized industry knowledge across various subject matters and have a high degree of accuracy in identifying violative content. They join the global network of over 300 organizations that participate in the program.

Google Cloud has launched the Priority Flagger Program, which identifies potential phishing websites and malware hosted on Google Cloud. The Singapore Police Force is one of the first organizations globally to enroll in this program, and Google Cloud plans to onboard more priority flaggers.

In collaboration with the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, Google will offer Google Cybersecurity Certificates to an estimated 100 enterprises at no cost. Developed by Google’s cybersecurity experts, the certificate equips learners with the skills to identify risks, threats, and vulnerabilities. It provides hands-on experience using Linux commands, Python for automating cybersecurity tasks, and other advanced security tools. The course curriculum also prepares learners to sit for the CompTIA Security+ exam, the industry-leading certification for cybersecurity roles.

Sherie Ng, Country Director, Singapore, Google Cloud, emphasized the significance of the partnerships, stating, “As cyber threats manifest in new ways, it is imperative to maintain public trust in digital services. Our work with entities like the Singapore Police Force on the Google Cloud Priority Flagger Program, for instance, will help tackle threat actors’ growing propensity to use cloud services to host malicious content. We will continue to forge deep partnerships with organizations who share our vision of democratising access to new skills and security-specific AI tools, so that we can collectively reduce toil, overcome threat overload, and bridge the talent gap.”

The Google Cybersecurity Certificates are part of Google Career Certificate offerings and can be completed online in under six months of part-time study. Organizations interested in receiving scholarships for their employees can refer to the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore’s webpage on cybersecurity health plans for SMEs or the Cyber Essentials and/or Cyber Trust programs for more information.

Google’s collaborations and initiatives aim to enhance digital resilience and cybersecurity capabilities among individuals, businesses, and organizations in Singapore. By sharing its expertise and providing cybersecurity tools, Google seeks to build a safer and more secure online environment for all users.

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