16th October, 2018 Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Semisi Sika officially opened a National Cyber Week 15th – 19th October, 2018 to mark ‘Cyber Security Awareness Month’ under the theme of ‘A Safer Digital World for our Youth – Recognising the role of government, private sector, communities, parents and guardians’ yesterday afternoon at the Constitutional Church of Tonga Hall, Pahu.
The week-long event aims to better comprehend various roles in creating a safer digital world for our young people in Tonga; better comprehend the benefits and threats of using the internet and technology; learn to mitigate falling victim to the threat of using the internet and technology; and share experiences of using the internet and technology in Tonga.
Hon Minister for Internal Affairs, Ms Losaline Maasi said there is no doubt that technology or internet evolved education to a whole new level at which our youth and junior scholars are led towards substantial education programs that universal.
“We are conscious of the aspect that it accelerate business undertakings, promoting the use of public medium for publishing and marketing both merchandising and youth services. In addition, promotion of spiritual ventures and biblical awareness intended to amplify our nation and youth religious perception is also an overriding basis at which we choose to partake on such a contrivance.”
She stated that because of how dangerous technology is on our youth, Tonga have immensely come to recognise the importance of initiating programs against misusing of technology an aim at guiding our people and youth in a much more promising life rather than having to frequently occupy themselves in the social media marketing world.
Chief Executive Officer for MEIDECC, Mr. Paula Pouvalu Ma’u said “The Fiji-Tonga submarine cable was commissioned connecting Tonga to the Internet via fiber optic in 2013, which was much faster than the satellite communications used at the time. This was aimed at assisting economic and social development for the country.”
“This government recognised that along with these potential benefits where would be some challenges and as such established the Cyber Challenges Taskforce. Under the Taskforce a number of working groups were set-up including the Cyber Safety Working Group aimed at coordinating the resources of various agencies to provide awareness and address the challenges faced by the youth and community when using the internet and technology.”
The working group has membership from the Attorney General’s Office, Tonga Police, CERT Tonga under the Ministry of MEIDECC and NGOs and has working closely with the Minister of Internal Affairs’ Church Leaders’ Desk in providing programs to the communities, surveys, awareness program and the National Cyber Week.
During this National Cyber Week, daily themes have been designed by the Cyber Security Working Group for the targeting participants to focus on, through various presentations and panel consultations to conclude the main concentration of each day.
Mr. Ma’u told the gatherings that this week is part of the continuous efforts by the Government to address the challenges faced by our nation when using the internet and technology especially for our youth.
“A forum where different sectors of society can raise their concerns, learn about ways to mitigate the bad effects of using the internet and most of all formulate ways we can collaboratively address these challenges allowing us to realise the benefits of using the Internet and Technology.”
Mr. Ma’u emphasized that this week will also provide a report which will play a critical role in forming a work plan and how the best allocate our limited resources as we try to provide a safe and secure digital environment for us all.
Attending the opening ceremony were the Ministers of Cabinet, Church Leaders, Government Officials, district and town officers, representatives from the outer islands of Tonga, youths and guests.