Today I was presenting to the Thai Health Promotion Foundation sub-committee on its next phase of “ICT Plan for Cyber Health”. It was fun to have the Health Minister joining the meeting unofficially. I was first reviewing the situation of Thai cyberspace on risk behavior among youth. The recent survey found many interesting figure such as over 90% of the online youth use chatting service, out of that 30% goes to meet physically and 18% ended up with having sex with partners known through the Internet. The trend is getting worst everyday with rapid increase in all risk indicators.
The nice thing that came out of the meeting was that the traditional thinking of shutting down risky websites or cracking down dangerous online communities are not enough to combat the problem. The key is to both build cyber-immunity to youth as well as providing them with creative internet environment where young people who shared similar interests can exchange their views/works and evolve into various positive online communities.
One interesting idea from the health minister was that we should unite those positive online communities, especially those web 2.0 in Thailand with various incentive schemes for their members such as various competition on all things creative from music to short movie as well as provide them with BIG BANG opportunity to showcase their digital creative works (similarly to FAT festival). Something like a big & youthful web2.0 showcases and invite massive collaboration from the public. This will provide major incentive for youngsters to explore their creative potential through the digital world and perhaps spend less attention to all those risky behavior.
Although it is the end of his term as health minister, at least he is getting it. I’m sure it’s our job to convince more people like this so that there are more and more support for web2.0 communities in Thailand sustainably.