Digital Empowerment: When will the internet be safe for women?
The modern technology has influenced the lives of people and has become an indispensable part of human existence. But focusing “only” on its positive aspects will be a biased act as it means seeing just one side of a coin. On one hand, the population of billions in our country is busy enjoying its plethora of advantages, but on the contrary, there are people, especially women who are caught in a vicious circle facing online harassment. So, speaking “just” about its vastness would be like an extravaganza, full of puffery.
Internet is becoming a nasty and scarier place day by day.
Its reach has armed people with a weapon to invade the privacy of others. Almost 60% of women have experienced “severe” crimes belong to the age group of 18-25 years. This group is most vulnerable to online abuse.
Atrocities like mining private information, online sexual harassment, control over online accounts, tracking one’s whereabouts, online abuse, blackmailing and much more are common nowadays. In most of the cases, the humiliation is caused by men, who are filled with a “hate instinct”.
The lavishness of this virtual world tempts easily into its trap, but once caught the damage leaves a pernicious, permanent and public effect. This “public effect” is synonymous with trolling, rape threats and harassment.
However, all these problems capture very little attention. A big chunk of society runs to “embrace” the modern technology and not the “embarrassment” that it causes for women.
That’s why we have seen only a few cases proceeding through the court system. It seems that people have immune themselves to such problems.
Technological advancements have provided a wide landscape for people where they can be alone and with thousands simultaneously.
The internet is a wonderful resource, but its access proves hazardous at times. The issue of cyber crime has reached a peak that it needs serious attention, hard conversations and research by the social scientists so that we are able to combat this speedily growing problem to some extent. These invaders of privacy are so expert that they don’t even riddle when reminded of serious consequences.
Women empowerment is a need of an hour. However, it should not be restricted to financial, social and political boundaries but digital too. Also, one shouldn’t allow technology to compromise with safety. Although the internet has provided an opportunity to “explore and expand”, but on the parallel side, it raises the question: When will the internet be safe for women?
Also Read: Making the Internet Safer for Women
Udisha Srivastav is a student of Kamala Nehru College, New Delhi. This effort is a part of Google India and SheThePeople initiative Digital Trust Dialogues across colleges in India.