#blog

Making the Internet Safer for Women

post image

‘Safety’- can mean different things to different people, but everyone will connect the meaning with that of comfort. Now, being comfortable online seems like an issue, especially, if you are a woman.

“You’ll get used to it,” they say.

Yes, being online is something one can get used to but in this process, it often leads to harrowing experiences such as hacking, impersonation, stalking and even sexual abuse. And women being considered the “weaker” gender are easier targets.

The patriarchal mindset doesn’t like giving women an opportunity to express themselves on a platform where they don’t feel trapped.

The online world also acts as a reminder of the rights women have as an individual. But with this comes the problem of security. Unsafe sites make it easier for ex-lovers or stalkers to crack codes and get access to private information. Many times, intimate partners turn violent. They keep a track on the online accounts and conversations, of their partners making life even more dreadful.

Body shaming is another menace that women specifically face a lot. People feel the need to comment and express their opinions on a woman’s body, shape and size, her dressing sense. They do it without any inhibitions because they feel that women are to be treated as objects of fun and entertainment. Therefore they extend the same behaviour online. They treat young girls as a source of releasing their pent-up sexual frustration.

Some women also face consequences for voicing their opinion on the internet. Then there are impersonators who fool young unsuspecting girls. Often they face a loss of not only money but their dignity too.

Video and image morphing has become another common trick for blackmailers. Death, rape and acid attack threats are increasing day by day. Even though an online threat sounds petty, the offender takes drastic measures to frighten his target.

What women need to understand that whichever site they use, wherever they surf, their history and information is being saved. They need to become more cautious about what they post and how much they share and to who all.

A few things to keep in mind that can go a long way as far as internet safety is concerned.

  1. There should be bots in every site that can detect and delete any sexually abusing and hateful comments.
  2. If being harassed in private, women should take screenshots and make it public as then they can have witnesses, which will make the abuser take a step back.
  3. Trouble of any kind should be reported immediately. A dedicated helpline dealing with issues regarding women’s online safety should be created. Such initiatives have been already taken by countries like Australia and UK.
  4. There should be sites training women to be less vulnerable and more confident. So that they are alert and prepared for any kind of situation.
  5. Also, punishable offences will instil a fear in the minds of criminals.
  6. Women need to share their online life with their family and friends. This will help them make wiser decisions and they will be assured that they support.

Digital Trust Dialogues by SheThePeople and Google

Let’s put an end to this ‘nightmare on the Cyber Street’ for once and for all.

Shinichi is a student of SNDT university, Usha Mittal Institue of Technology, Mumbai and this effort is a part of Google India and SheThePeople initiative Digital Trust Dialogues across colleges in India.

Also Read: How to Safeguard and Secure the Virtual Space

post image
Making the Internet Safer for Women
post image
This is how Andhra women are using Internet to transform their lives
post image
“Sports is What Keeps Us Together,” Well said PT Usha!
post image
Tips to Reduce Vulnerability From Online Attacks