Women tech safety has been at the centre of our modern debate. The internet is replete with challenges but also full of opportunities. Society has always restricted women from pursuing their passion by being slotting them into just roles. Often girls have always been treated as secondary to men. And internet is no different. Normative values have meant women get less access to data and wifi. They are criticised for getting too ‘exposed’ to stuff on the net. Having said that, in terms of work, education and dialogue, the digital era has indeed been the reason many women have found opportunity. The reason being that technology has opened a new universe for women to showcase their creativity and intellect through working remotely online and starting up their own ventures with some help from online resources including and not limited to the social media.

However, not everything that glitters is gold.

The Online world can prove to be worse than real life in terms of demoralizing and penalizing women for having ambitious plans. Trolls talk. The gloves are off and the battle is fierce. Cyber-crimes are growing every day, thanks to the ease of access to a Wi-Fi connection and gadget that supports it. Several researches are being carried out to figure out the motivation behind such attacks, with results showing that these criminals are often the same ones earlier charged with physical sexual offences.

Being a woman myself, there is no way I will let myself give up on the access to internet and the vast knowledge that it encapsulates. It has proven advantageous to my personal growth and allowed me to keep up to date with the latest mediums of exchanging information and reaching out to a wider audience. In my opinion, no woman should be frightened of such crimes, instead we should acknowledge the occurrence of such crimes and tackle it in a smart manner. Few things that I believe are important in ensuring our safety online and things that I always remind myself to practice when online includes:

First: A secure password that is defined as “strong” and is above eight to ten letters and uses a combination of alphanumerics, numeric and symbols. Using phrase passwords is also suggested and you should never use the same password across all your accounts.

Second: Do not accept any unknown friend request on social media sites, they may be potential threats to private information. They might also be stalkers who could possible harass you with morphing and account hacking.

Third: Check your privacy settings regularly, especially who can view your privacy. You have full right control the amount of sharing you want to have with the cyber world. Exercise this right.

Kiran Gobindram is a student of ARCH College of design, Jaipur and this effort is a part of Google India and SheThePeople initiative Digital Trust Dialogues across colleges in India.

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