Fostering digital literacy skills across Southeast Asia

Shanta Arul

Strategy & Development, Asia Pacific

Shanta Arul

Strategy & Development, Asia Pacific

At Netflix, we want to help parents make the right choices for their families. So we give them controls over what their children can watch, and provide ratings as well as information about individual titles.

In South East Asia we've also teamed up with local digital literacy organisations and the Family Online Safety Institute to host a series of online workshops. 

The panels in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam were attended by more than 100 other people from the industry, academia and the public sector. Top tips included understanding what children are doing online; how to be a good digital role model; and the best way to use parental controls - like those provided by Netflix.

Many of the participants acknowledged how the coronavirus has impacted these conversations. “COVID-19 has changed the landscape for parents as the Internet is now playing a more crucial role in everyday life,” said Cyber Safespaces Project Manager Sheila Estabillo from Plan International Philippines. “So it's important parents understand what their kids are doing online”.

FOSI founder and CEO Stephen Balkam emphasized “the need to create a culture of responsibility online” in his keynote address.

There was also wide recognition that the discussion has shifted from how to set broad restrictions to how to give families better tools to make these decisions themselves. "Media literacy is key in this online age. In the past, it was the censor that stood between viewers and the screen. Now, in this 'screen culture', we have thousands of screens in which that approach is not feasible,” said Mr Hilmar Farid, Director General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, Indonesia, who gave closing remarks. 

Although the conversations around digital literacy are changing, it’s been an important topic at Netflix for years. In August 2019, we signed a pledge as part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Digital ASEAN working group to support these types of digital skills in Southeast Asia. We also hosted similar events about digital literacy in Amsterdam, Brussels and London earlier this year. 

There is much more work to do in this arena all over the world, but we’re committed to having these candid conversations.