Internet has revolutionised technology and communication like never before. With a worldwide broadcasting capability, it has transformed the lives of billions of people, especially women. Despite its advantages, internet is still an unsafe space for women. From privacy data breach to body shaming to gender-based hate speech to sexual harassment, women continue to face abuse online. There has to be a system to ensure safety. This is where the Digital Trust Dialogues come into place.
Addressing issues of internet safety, SheThePeople.TV, in partnership with Google India, has set up Digital Trust Dialogues, a programme to help young people understand digital risks and help women interact about their safety challenges and using tools to better leverage technology and opportunity.
How digital trust can help foster a safer and better internet space
Digital Trust Dialogues are working towards a safer internet by enabling an environment, where conversations concerning these issues can happen. The programme, which is held across several cities in India, takes these conversations directly to the nation’s youth. These dialogues significantly engage college students towards building awareness and finding solutions to the concerns they raise.
With a fast pacing internet revolution, the #DigitalTrustDialogues is immensely contributing towards establishing how the conversation on safety and trust must shape for women by speaking to experts. We were made aware of the downsides. Child safety, digital trust, morphing and even the dark web should keep us on toes and recognise the challenges our new online environment poses. These issues can not only have lasting effects, they can be detrimental to health.
The essence of this entire programme is that it’s directly connected to the masses, not only hearing them voice their problems but also acting swiftly, with expert help, to address the same.
The digital trust systematically lays down efforts with regard to technical aspects of online security and enables people to take preventive measures to ensure protection of themselves and their private information.
With several dialogues already held across the country, it’s safe to say that the young brigade, specifically, has been highly enthusiastic about learning new ways to secure themselves online and take action to build safer online spaces. A leading vision of this initiative is to keep people informed of the possible repercussions that may arise for not following active measures designed for digital safety.
Another interesting factor is that, with a positive rise in youngsters taking up entrepreneurial roles, the digital trust’s farsightedness helps address specific demands of privacy, data protection, and identity theft, for their startup businesses at length.
The next wave
The next wave of Internet in the country, which will be driven by 500 million users, has the potential to unlock over $50 billion worth of transactions in online commerce in the country, according to a report titled ‘Unlocking Digital for Bharat: $50 Billion Opportunity’. Although it will take about three to five years to reach the target, the challenges need to be addressed swiftly to not only bring more people online but also get them to convert their online users into transactions.
Studies reveal that while 40 per cent of the country’s 390 million internet users transact online, the other 60 per cent go online for product research and content but prefer offline channel for transactions. In order to build a strong e-commerce network in India, a safer environment has to be made available for consumers to build their trust on.
Digital trust is gaining clarity on its discrete components and this is one fact that will entail in the next wave of internet. The trust panels focus on seeing how the internet can be used as a force for good: to build personal networks, connections, and leverage one’s personal work to a wider audience.
Women should have freedom to do what they want, without being harassed
Just like all other technological advancements, it is still a matter of debate as to whether Internet is a boon or a bane. The extent of its use and abuse is also upon us. Not the internet itself, but rather it is the content of media available online which can be demeaning towards women.
Sometimes, online safety comes down to a gut check. Instant/Text Messaging (IM) is not a safe or confidential way to discuss danger or abuse. The digital trust helps people in recognising and resorting to a better and safer approach.
Online and enabled: How the internet empowers women
Internet is a vital link to ideas, opportunities and resources. It also paves the way for women all over the world to imagine new possibilities and make them happen.
Digital entrepreneurship is one of the most beneficial outcomes of internet in this day and age. Women are responsibly implementing the use of communication, research and media online. Apart from being efficient and time-saving, it makes a huge amount of information available — ranging from law, market information, ideas and technical support.
It’s true that, like in the real world, the internet can be an ugly place for women. But it also gives us a powerful tool for firing back. The #MeToo campaign showed how women can use the internet to fight back and raise their voices and concerns. Also, initiatives like Internet Saathi aim to empower women in rural India with the power of the Internet, so they may benefit from it in their daily lives.
This is exactly why Digital Trust Dialogues can help us collectively approach a middle path wherein, awareness concerning both — its harmful effects and potential — is realised, acknowledged and worked upon in a more constructive manner.