From social media to online chatting, the Internet has countless avenues for sharing and connecting with friends and communities.
But this open network also carries many risks, especially for children.
Famous for its iconic Petronas Twin Towers, her city is the high-rise metropolitan capital of Malaysia.
Nicole’s dream is to become an architect and help design the next generation of KL’s buildings.
Nicole is a ‘digital native’ (someone who grew up with the Internet) who spends three to four hours online each day.
“My school uses i Pads as learning tools and our teachers give us tests online,” she says. It’s easier because we don’t just have one source of information. I like reading the BBC, chatting online with friends, and sharing photos on Instagram.” But the Internet has not always been a safe space for Nicole – just a few years ago she was a victim of cyberbullying.
“When I was 10 to 12, other children at school picked on me because I was a loner and didn’t have a mobile phone,” Nicole recalls. We had a laptop at home, so I set up a Facebook profile, but they still bullied me.
They posted comments saying I was stupid and didn’t belong. I cried a lot and wondered why the other kids hated me.” Nicole’s mum suggested that she read up on cyberbullying, and advised her to stay strong. I learned to talk more to my parents and not keep everything inside.
“I confronted some of the other children at school and asked them ‘Why are you doing this? Since then I’ve been much more open.” These days, Nicole is a child protection advocate who works hard to help her peers stay safe online.
At a recent online safety workshop in Bangkok, she confidently shared her experiences and opinions with other teenagers from across Asia.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the main international treaty on children’s rights.