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Impacts

Socioeconomic Changes in the Digital Age Cause Growing Concerns Over Family Structures and Child Development

With economic and social pressures on the rise in Thailand and around the world, intense competition in the job market, and accelerating adoption of digital technologies and social media, many Thai families have begun to suffer from chronic stress and eroding mental health. Furthermore, many parents spend less quality time with their children, which can worsen family ties and impact child development. And the situation is only worsening. dtacblog spoke to Associate Professor Dr. Adisak Plitponkarnpim, pediatrician and director of Mahidol University’s National Institute of Child and Family Development, about Thailand’s family crisis, the concept of inclusive childcare, and autism-like characteristics in children caused by excessive screen time. His research aligns closely with the goals of the dtac Safe Internet initiative, which aims to promote digital resilience for children, the future builders of the nation and tomorrow’s citizens. Family Stressors Impact Child Development A joint research study, conducted by Mahidol University’s National Institute for Child and Family Development and the Child Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Center of the university’s Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital on nearly 2,000 children from low-income neighborhoods, found that poverty is directly correlated with dysfunctional family relationships. Children raised in such families tend to experience…

Biodiversity Means National Security: What lies inside the National Biobank’s Vault

Through a joint research project between dtac, NECTEC and Chaipattana Foundation, Lingzhi mushrooms herald massive benefits for Thailand’s future Thailand ranks among the world’s richest countries in terms of biodiversity. In ASEAN, it is the third-most biodiverse. Around 10% of the world’s fauna species can be found here, as well as 8% of all flora species. In fact, at least 20,000 plant types are known to grow on Thai soil. But during the past five decades, the rate of species extinction has been hundreds of times higher than the rate of species discovery. This net loss is due to human encroachment, habitat loss, natural disasters and climate change. Recognizing this problem, dtacblog spoke to Sissades Thongsima, CEO of the National Biobank of Thailand. His agency is in charge of protecting what he likes to call “the country’s bio-security.” National Infrastructure for Biodiversity Dr. Sissades said that the biodiversity of fauna/flora species and microorganisms has historically been one of Thailand’s strengths. Such diversity is a precious resource that can be utilized for economic purposes. However, even Thailand’s level of abundance is exhaustible. Aware of this fact, the Thai government in 2018 approved a budget of roughly THB 800 million for the…

Breakthrough Research in Lingzhi Mushroom Cultivation in Thailand

In Thailand, farmers are recognized as the country’s backbone. But the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Researchreports that 40 percent of Thai farmers live below the poverty line. Their economic and social development was a strong focus of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who established the Chaipattana Foundation in 1988 to develop practical solutions to benefit his people. With this goal in mind, the foundation’s Highland Agriculture Research and Development Project is now collaborating with dtac for a 5G “Internet of Things” solution set to enhance the cultivation of the lucrative lingzhi mushrooms. Agricultural Lab Anutra Wannaviroj, director of the Highland Agriculture Research and Development Project, says HRH Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn established the research center to develop agriculture in Thailand’s North. The Chinese government also provided investment in the form of products, machinery, personnel, plants, and technology transfers. Spanning 578 rai (231 acres) of land in Pong Nam Ron, in Chiang Mai, the project aims to train farmers and agricultural experts, making it the “agricultural lab” of the North. Ms. Anutra explains that the project’s operations are designed to match the geosocial context of the surrounding area. The project facilitates studies, experiments and the development of comprehensive organic-farming management…

Thai social enterprise wants elderly to go digital

Thailand has become a full-fledged aging society since 2021. Its elderly population (those over 60 years old) now accounts for about 20 percent of the total population, and that number is expected to rise to more than one third or about 20 million people. To better understand the so-called “silver tsunami,” dtacblog spoke to Thanakorn Phromyos, CEO and Co-founder of YoungHappy, a social enterprise that works to promote active aging and is a partner of dtac. He shared with us his inspiration in starting the social enterprise and the ambition to help seniors stay engaged, active and happy. Social Enterprise As an only child, Mr. Thanakorn, a graduate in aerospace engineering, wanted to become financially successful in order to take good care of his parents. But after his father retired, he started noticing that his father grew much older and started losing pride in himself. This, combined with his keen interest in solving social issues, inspired him to begin his journey as a social entrepreneur. “I’m always interested in finding solutions to social and environment issues, and I have participated in several volunteer programs,” he said. “One day I came across this book by Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker and…

This startup fights for fun and meaningful learning experiences in Thailand

The outbreak of Covid-19 was a turning point for Thai education. When schools closed and shifted to online classes, a lack of digital tools and skills, as well as outdated curricula, were laid bare. dtacblog spoke to Chalipa Dulyakorn of INSKRU, the education startup and a partner of dtac’s Safe Internet project, to understand how tomorrow’s classrooms can be redesigned to build digital resilience among children and youth. Create safe spaces in school INSKRU has made learning more enjoyable for over two million students. In 2018, it reached the final round of dtac Plikthai, a platform to crowd-source socially conscious initiatives. It received the funding of 100,000 baht and was connected by dtac to a group of experts. Ms. Chalipa then used the money for creative workshops with teachers, which turned out a success. Not long after, INSKRU was chosen as a partner of dtac Safe Internet, whose ambition is to foster digital resilience in children and youth by joining forces with students, teachers, parents, and both private and public sectors. dtac leverages INSKRU’s expertise and their community of 200,000 teachers, who play a vital role in redesigning learning process and act as guardians in school. “dtac has set a…

New Culture Needed to Fight Cyberbullying Says Behavioral Economist

During the past years, discussions on behavioral economics have been growing among economic and social policymakers in Thailand. Their debates have raised questions as to whether traditional mindsets are still practical for policymaking in today’s context. Case in point: policies that try to promote savings among Thais. They have hardly achieved any success because of cultural factors, and often Thais get old before they can get rich.To support its fight against cyberbullying, dtac collaborated with Chulalongkorn University’s (CU) Faculty of Economics to use behavioral economics to better design practical policies and solutions to this issue. Together, dtac and Chulalongkorn University worked on a framework to engage Thailand’s youth around Safe Internet projects that could truly change behaviors. To better understand how behavioral economics can promote healthier online spaces, dtacblog spoke to Asst. Prof. Thanee Chaiwat, president of CU’s Program in Political Economy and director of the Chulalongkorn Experimental Economics Center,“Focusing on motivators including emotions and experiences, behavioral economics recognize that humans are not always rational,” said Prof. Thanee. “If motivators are well-designed, humans can be expected to give positive responses—similarly to a free market system. Behavioral economics can address cyberbullying too, as it recognizes the cultural complexity behind the problem.”Prof.…

Punch Up vows to transform Thailand with the power of data visualization

In this month’s Impact, dtacblog speaks to the founders of an innovative agency specializing in data-driven storytelling. In March 2019, an online media outlet “ELECT” sprang into operation with solid information on elections. At that time, Thailand was preparing to hold its first general election since the 2014 coup. ELECT offered a fresh perspective on the election via data, charts and graphics. Behind these infographics was Thanisara “Ging” Ruangdej, who then partnered with Patchar “Fai” Duangklad in founding Punch Up as a Data Storytelling Studio. “Many people have followed ELECT, making clear that to politics is something people care about. ELECT has attracted users and generated interactions. I also noticed the growing trend of data storytelling in the world. News giants like New York Times in the US and The Guardian in the UK have embraced the trend. So, we wanted to take data storytelling in Thailand farther and go beyond the political scope only. With Punch Up, we are addressing social, economic and environmental issues too,” Thanisara told dtacblog. Patchar added, “In the past, we thought only media could present information to the public. But after studying business models, we have concluded that we can work as a data…

This family-owned textile factory is pushing for a more sustainable future with dtac

dtac "Think Hai d" t-shirts are now made of plastic bottles and old clothes, saving thousands of liters per shirt. While dtac isn’t a clothing brand, the company does produce a line of branded items sold at the dtac House headquarters. As dtac curbs its environmental impact across its entire supply chain, the mobile operator turned its attention to the t-shirts it produces. The manufacturing of a single t-shirt can require enough water to quench a human’s thirst for three years. Moreover, the textile and fashion industry account for 10 per cent of the world’s total carbon-dioxide emissions today. It is the second biggest polluter, behind the energy industry. Thus began dtac’s search for a way to curb its fashion line’s carbon footprint, which led to contracting Saeng Charoen Grand Company Limited (SC GRAND), Thailand’s first textile recycling factory. Jirarot “Wat” Pojanavaraphan, managing director and third-generation owner of SC GRAND , told dtac blog, “For dtac’s t-shirt production, we use two sources of recycled materials: old clothes and plastic bottles. The result is a recycled polyester fiber blend. With four old t-shirts and four plastic bottles, we can make one brand-new t-shirt!” The process begins with separating textile waste by…

One man’s fight for those missing but not forgotten

Impacts is a monthly feature from dtac blog exploring mobile connectivity in the context of sustainability. This month, we interviewed Eakalak Loomchomkhae, Director of the Mirror Foundation’s Missing Person Center, The Mirror Foundation. We met with Mr. Eakalak also participated in dtac’s Safe Internet Project, a flagship program of dtac teaching school-age children how to stay safe online. Missing persons “Ironically, Thailand’s government has a department for missing cars, but there is no a center for missing persons. This shows how little awareness there is for the missing persons problem,” said Mr. Eakalak. “It is a problem that has been swept under the carpet for decades by every government.” Located in Mae Yao, Chiang Rai, the Missing Person Center is close to porous borders traveled by numerous migrants from neighboring Burma and Laos, in addition to a rural exodus of Thais moving to cities. When the Mirror Foundation began investigating cases of missing persons, it found that many were caused by human trafficking. As it dug deeper, the foundation faced threats from the traffickers, and little support from authorities. In sleepy Mae Yao alone (pop. 20,000), they sound found 20 missing persons cases. And their mission grew from there. The…