Pakistan’s Telecom Regulator Signs MoU With TikTok To Advance Digital Safety In Public Schools

Officials from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and short-video app TikTok pose for a group photo after signing Memorandum of Understanding in Islamabad on September 8, 2023. (Photo courtesy: PTA)

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a popular social media app dedicated to short-form videos called TikTok to promote digital safety in government schools through a multifaceted approach.

The internet is widely recognized as a breeding ground for predators who target young, vulnerable individuals while trying to subject them to cyberbullying and online scams. With cellphones, tablets and laptops available to an increasing number of students, many parents express concern that the chances of their children getting exposed to inappropriate content are higher than ever.

Pakistan has also faced similar concerns in recent years where young and impressionable minds are targeted by online predators.

The PTA said the collaboration with TikTok will be followed by training programs “for teachers, parents, and students that will be covered through, workshops, seminars, webinars, awareness videos etc. to shed light on the legitimate use of social media, associated risks and how to tackle the nuisance affectively and wisely.”

“This collaboration underscores the vision of both organizations for a digital space where safety is paramount,” the telecom authority said in a statement. “PTA anticipates that this pioneering initiative will set the stage for other social media platforms to follow suit in establishing partnership with PTA to enhance the local digital environment.”

TikTok itself has come under significant criticism in recent years in the conservative Pakistani society where a person moved a petition against it at the Lahore High Court last month for having a “bad, negative and dangerous” impact on the youth.

Pakistani authorities have also banned the video-sharing service several times in the past, with the first ban imposed in October 2020 over what was described as widespread complaints about allegedly “immoral, obscene, and vulgar” content on the app.

Some of the TikTok users have also lost their lives while trying to record innovative video clips, with one of them accidentally killing himself while filming a fake suicide stunt and another dying after being hit by a train while walking on the track.

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