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Unveiling Digital Challenges and Opportunities for Cambodian Youth

EDDS was kindly invited to collaborate with Open Development Cambodia on a special project during the 6th Cambodia ICT and Digital Forum in March, 2024. In the effort to discuss and explore a wide range of topics - from digital opportunities, data governance, children's rights and the use of digital technologies in education - ODC and EDDS put together a range of workshops, consultations and activities with young people and children in the capital city Phnom Penh and in the northern province of Preah Vihear.




As Cambodia undergoes rapid economic and social transformation, the collaboration between EDDS and ODC is expressed in the forthcoming report called Exploring Cambodian Children’s Knowledge of Digital Rights.



Open Development Cambodia, organisers and presenters at the 6th ICT and Digital Forum

The report documents the outcomes from the series of events, consultations, and workshops held in March which aimed to understand the digital challenges and opportunities faced by Cambodian children and youth. Key objectives of the work carried out included addressing the complexities of digital transformation, identifying gaps in digital rights knowledge among children and young people in both urban and rural - remote - areas of the country, and co-designing actionable strategies for empowering the next generation.


The workshops were co-organised with the support of ODC, Fujitsu-Japan, and MyData Global
Awards ceremony following the conference

Educational session followed by a workshop with students in Preah Vihear province

Key outcomes from the presentations, workshops, and consultations include:


  • Children and young people are extensively engaged with digital technologies, primarily for social media interactions, entertainment, and accessing information.

  • The use of social media poses significant risks, especially for younger children who access age-inappropriate platforms like TikTok and Facebook through their parents' devices.

  • There is a blurred distinction between applications, platforms, and digital devices, complicating critical assessment of their functionalities and deeper issues such as platformisation and algorithmic manipulation.

  • Political influences shape young people's preferences for certain applications, reflecting broader geopolitical dynamics.

  • Both younger children and youth encounter and sometimes passively handle inappropriate online content.

  • Concerns over online data privacy are prevalent among young people, who perceive challenges in controlling the information they share and avoiding online scams.

  • Popular applications among youth include TikTok, Telegram, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, Heyday, Reddit, and WhatsApp.

  • While digital creativity and educational applications were discussed minimally, notable mentions included e-learning platforms like Google Classroom, developed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Understanding of 'data privacy' is clear among young people regarding personal identifiers but less so regarding how data can influence beliefs and opinions.

  • Cultural contexts influence the effectiveness of digital rights strategies, highlighting the need for culturally sensitive approaches to online safety and freedoms.

  • Awareness of online tracking's impact on privacy remains limited, with concerns primarily focused on physical harm rather than psychological manipulation or misinformation exposure.

  • Interest among young people in learning cybersecurity skills, understanding app terms and agreements, and navigating addictive digital designs, particularly in social media and AI-driven digital marketing.


These insights underscore the complexities and challenges in navigating digital environments, calling for enhanced digital literacy and protective measures tailored to children and young people's evolving digital interactions.


Stay tuned for the full report, to be published in both English and Khmer.


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