Cultivating Healthy Social Media Habits

Friends of Bhutan Austria, together with the Society-Switzerland-Bhutan and the German-Bhutan-Himalaya Society, supports the Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy to create awareness in the communities through parent and youth education on safe and responsible use of the digital space.

There are 13 youth centers in the country providing safe space catering to children’s and youth’s recreational and social needs outside of the school system. The project will benefit the youth center coordinators, parents, youth and children residing in the communities around the center through imparting digital media literacy.

Project Goals
  1. 20 youth center coordinators are equipped with knowledge and skills to create awareness about online safety issues and trained as trainers
  2. 150 Parents and 330 children have enhanced knowledge and skills to regulate their social media use. Parents are empowered to monitor children’s safe use of social media.
Training of Trainers
Participants of the BCMD Training of Trainers

A three-day Training of Trainers ended on 25th of June.  Kezang, the coordinator of Khuruthang youth centre, emphasised the relevance of this training in the present day, as many young individuals are susceptible to the dangers of social media due to a lack of awareness.

Building upon the momentum gained during the training, the participants will now proceed to organise step-down training sessions at their respective youth centres, targeting both children and parents. This initiative aims to empower them with knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the online world safely.

Project Background

The world wide web and social media are transforming Bhutanese society at an unprecedented rate. 2023 internet penetration stands at 85.5 percent . Bhutan was home to 475.3 thousand social media users in January 2023, equating to 60.5 percent of the total population. While this comes with the benefit of better connectivity and efficient flow of information, it is a double-edged sword for an unsuspecting society who is unprepared to reap its benefits and mitigate evils.

A study by the Bhutan Media Foundation (2020) shows that children and young people , aged 13-29 years, are highly active on social media with as high as five social media profiles. An alarming three fourth of social media users have little or no awareness of privacy or ethical issues. 50 percent do not customize their private settings.

Generally in the year of elections, a lot of misinformation, and defamatory contents are spread via social media and adults and youth who are not educated on media literacy contribute to the spread of such contents unintenionally. Media literacy is critical for citizens in order to know how to how to protect themselves and to make informed judgements.

Project Data:

Project Name: Safeguarding children and youth online by cultivating healthy social media habits
Funding: 1,000 SFR  (Society Switzerland-Bhutan 3,000 SFR, German Bhutan-Himalaya Society 2,000 SFR)
Project Partner: Bhutan Center for Media and Democracy
Project Duration: March 2023 – October 2023
Thematic Focus: Media Literacy
SDG Tracker: SDG 4: Indicator 4.4.2: “Percentage of youth/adults who have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in digital literacy skills”