The Internet Society today announced the awardees of its 25 under 25 program. One of the many initiatives supporting the Internet Society’s 25th Anniversary, the program recognizes 25 young people from around the globe who are passionate about using the Internet to make a positive impact in their communities and the world. Representing 19 countries on five continents, the 25 Under 25 awardees’ initiatives include creating an anti-cyberbullying youth movement in Australia, providing e-health education to teens in Tanzania, and using ICTs to break the cycle of poverty for families in Costa Rica. While their individual accomplishments are noteworthy in their own right, together these 25 awardees highlight how today’s youth are helping to shape the future. As Kathryn Brown, Internet Society President and CEO, notes, “their efforts have a tremendous impact, creating new ways of socializing, mobilizing and organizing in a digital world. By recognizing these individuals, we aim to inspire other young people around the world to become actors of change and use the Internet for social good.” The 25 Under 25 awardees will be formally recognized at a special ceremony on Monday, 18 September in Los Angeles, California.
Poornima Meegammana, 24, Sri Lanka
Preventing cyber-harassment of teenage girls
Poornima founded the Respect Girls on Internet project out of concern for her teenage peers in Sri Lanka, many of whom face online hostility. Her experience is that teenagers typically start using the Internet without any knowledge about cyber safety or privacy.
Poornima and her team of volunteers worked with partners to make digital content on Internet safety available in local languages to ensure accessibility for all. One of the project’s most significant outputs is a Cyber Privacy e-Handbook, for teenagers new to the Internet, as well as teachers and parents.
Through her project, Poornima has enabled safer and more respectful Internet use, helped support victims of cyber harassment, and developed a network of youth committed to preventing future harassment. She is solving a problem rooted in the Internet by using the Internet.