BANTAYnet is a brand new, non-profit and charitable organisation with the purpose of providing free education about online safety and Internet savvy to Filipinos in Filipino languages & English. Our material will be delivered in simplified & accessible posts or short videos on social media. The word “bantay” means beware, watch out, or be on guard in several Filipino languages, which is fitting to our mission.
Although we are based in the city of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, two of our Trustees live in the Philippines and we work with Volunteers from all over. As we continue to grow, we strive to involve as many Filipinos in our work wherever we can, to make sure our services are created by Filipinos for Filipinos as much as possible.
This is just the beginning of our journey, which is why we need to raise enough money to make it possible for us to create quality educational content in Filipino languages by April 2021, starting with Bisaya!
Why is it so important to teach Filipinos about online safety and Internet savvy?
There are many potential dangers on the internet for people who are not aware of them, ranging from the slightly inconvenient to life-endangering, including:
- Phishing - the 1st quarter of 2019 saw over 1 million phishing incidents in the Philippines according to Kaspersky
- Password security & Identity theft
- Financial Scams
- The dangers of Fake News / Disinformation
- Sexual exploitation
- Child abuse and online sexual exploitation - In 2016 the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) declared that the Philippines had become the global hotspot for online sexual exploitation of children. It remains one of the top global sources of child sex abuse materials with 600,000 "sexualised" photos of Filipino children bartered and traded in 2018 alone.
- Being tricked into Modern Slavery - According to the Global Slavery Index, about 1 million Filipinos live in modern slavery, although official data is difficult to gather. Often vulnerable people are tricked through fake job offers found through the Internet.
Producing content in multiple languages
With English being an official Filipino language, is there a need for content in other Filipino languages?
Although English is the official language of instruction in schools, and 70% of the population are considered fluent, for most Filipinos it is not their mother tongue and not the primary language spoken in their home. Learning new information in a first language, or any language you are very comfortable with, is easier, more effective and less intimidating.
If Tagalog is the official Filipino language, why bother with other Filipino languages?
While Tagalog is the official national language, it is one of 10 main ones. In fact, there are 120-175 Filipino languages depending on how they are classified. An estimated 90% of Filipinos speak 1 of the 10 main languages (as of 2016).
Note: we are not aiming to translate into all languages!
Why start with Bisaya and not Tagalog?
- It is exactly because Tagalog is the official language that other local languages get neglected when it comes to providing non-English written material on any topic.
- The percentage of mother tongue Bisaya (which includes Cebuano & Boholano) speakers is 22% compared to 25% Tagalog speakers, which is a large proportion of the country’s entire population. Starting with Bisaya, therefore, means we will be able to reach a huge part of the population with just one language.
- Bisaya is what we know. To be more precise, Bisaya is the language spoken by our two Filipina trustees, so it is a natural starting point.
How and when will we offer content in other Filipino languages?
To make sure we provide quality content not only in terms of the information, but also the language, we will be working together with native speaker volunteers to help us with translations from English into Bisaya and later on, other languages. Once we are established and have produced enough content in Bisaya, we look forward to rolling out our content in additional languages. The more money we raise, the quicker we can reach our goal!
Do you need to know a Filipino language to learn from BANTAYnet?
No! Despite our main mission of reaching Filipinos in their native languages as much as possible, there will be a BANTAYnet English page for each of our social media profiles, as well as our website. Any content we publish in a Filipino language, will also be posted there in English.
How will we deliver our content?
The beauty of the BANTAYnet concept is that we will be sharing our content for FREE on social media, primarily Facebook. With 74 million Filipino internet users having an account on Facebook, this is the ideal way to reach as many people as possible.
Why do we need money if we are publishing posts for free via social media and are a non-profit organisation?
While social media is free to use, a lot of resources go into creating high quality content that is educational and accessible in different languages. Although BANTAYnet is not-for-profit, and none of us get paid, there are running costs that we have to manage. Software for efficient internal operations and content creation, ensuring that all our trustees have the necessary hardware and training courses are just a few of the expenses we face. For a more detailed breakdown of the costs, please email us at email@example.com. With the money you help us raise we can ensure the very best content to reach and impact millions of people!
How are we different?
- We will be the first platform to offer such broad range of educational content about online safety and Internet savvy in English as well as local Filipino languages (one by one).
- People don’t have to look for our content because we will DELIVER it straight to their feed through social media, so they will see it either if they follow our pages or through others sharing it. This way we will reach so many more!
- Unlike other online educational platforms, our system will not require users to actively commit to learning any modules (although this will be an option at a later stage). Since we will provide simplified, straightforward, and bite-sized content that will pop up as they scroll through their feeds on their phones, they can consume and absorb the information casually and in very little time.
Who can benefit from BANTAYnet?
Everyone can benefit from BANTAYnet’s material on how to use the internet in a more responsible and safer way! It is our mission to provide everyone with the necessary tools to stay safe and smart while surfing the web; any age, any level of income, any level of education.
Join us on our journey!
This is just the beginning of our journey. By being a Founding Donor of BANTAYnet you will help us raise the money we need to provide free, high quality education for online safety and Internet savvy to Filipinos everywhere!
Choose Your Reward!
How it all started
It all started with our Founder Rahel when she visited her family in Bohol, Philippines in early 2019. Since she was working on a doctoral research project in the field of social media behaviour at the time, she received many queries from family and friends of all ages, particularly concerned parents, regarding dangers of the Internet. When an opportunity arose for her to speak at her nephews' school, the government run Science Highschool in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, she was happy to give a talk on Online safety, privacy and how to spot fake news & disinformation.
It was a huge challenge to pack all the information of such a broad topic into a 1-hour presentation. There was so much to talk about! Rahel’s presentation was received with a lot of interest by the audience of more than 600, which in addition to students also included teachers and some parents. What was particularly striking was the level of engagement during the presentation, as well as the questions asked by the students in the Q&A at the end. Some teachers were taking notes, while parents listened attentively. It was evident: there was a huge demand for more information on staying safe online and understanding more about the ways of the Internet. Although the presentation was a success, Rahel came away from it wishing she had more time and better resources to teach and share the knowledge she had acquired throughout her university education where she specialised in digital political communication. Observing the content being shared on Facebook from her Filipino contacts, confirmed the demand for such general education on online safety and Internet literacy. Perhaps she could make this a project sometime in the future.
Well, that time came sooner than expected. Rahel decided to leave academia and by December 2019 started to transform her thoughts into action. Since then she has developed the concept of BANTAYnet and together with an enthusiastic and passionate team that form the Board of Trustees, we have tirelessly been building BANTAYnet so it can become the platform for Internet related learning in English and Filipino languages that is no longer just Rahel’s vision, but has become OUR vision. We hope to make it YOUR vision too!