‘Apply the offline safety rules to online space’: Experts
Digital world is becoming the reality that we are living in today. So it is only fair to say that the threats in the virtual space are also as real as they can get. Today, it is of utmost importance to address this by equipping the young generation with tools and knowledge about online safety and digital literacy. In this direction, SheThePeople.TV in collaboration with Google has started Digital Trust Dialogue which aims to involve and encourage college students to become a part of the discourse.
After holding four successful sessions at colleges in Delhi and Mumbai, we came to Jaipur for the fifth one, to address the students here and educate them about how to keep themselves safe from cyber-bullying and harassment. In a panel on online safety and opportunities, Founder and Director of ARCH College of Design and Business, Jaipur, Archana Surana said, “Earlier everything was one to one, you had to connect with people and meet them. But social media has really made it possible for us to connect with people of all age groups living across the globe.
Social media has also made design as a career very aspirational because lifestyle appeals to everybody. It is interesting to see that the institution uses social media as a very strong tool to reach out our target group. Design is all about communication and bringing in an experience so internet actually helps communicates the products that students are making here and the process they are going through while making that product very naturally. So it becomes a learning experience for both the learner and the person who is seeing it through the digital platform.”
One of India’s top 10 women marathon runner, Charu Thukral claims in her life internet has been an enabler. She says that she did not jump straight on to running marathons out of an impulse. “Initially I had a lot of questions about how runners train and function and what is people’s opinion on marathon runners and the internet help me find the answers.”
Swati, who founded Swati Souls and is a painter and artist by profession, started out in 2013. She brought a unique concept of bio-graphic painting that carries a person’s life journey. By her own admission, she is a very shy person. “I was very apprehensive to go up to people and tell them about her work so I chose the internet as a medium and it helped me a lot as I promoted my brand through it and I got extremely good response from people online.”
Educationist and Social Worker, Teena Sawhney brings in a significant point that today only the urban is not on the online platform, people from across the country have a digital presence. “But how people use it needs to be streamlined and there should be great awareness around the threats that pose as kickbacks especially to rural women,” she said.
“Social media has also made design as a career very aspirational because lifestyle appeals to everybody. It is interesting to see that the institution uses social media as a very strong tool to reach out our target group.
“We all come from a society controlled by men. A father would always ask the daughter where she is going? Why is she going out? When will she come back? These are the taboos that we are living with so when suddenly the internet offers a kind of freedom to both genders and without understanding the risks of it people jump into it. While it brings in a lot of opportunities, people must look ahead and take precautions so they don’t get into trouble online which transfers to the real world,” Sawhney added.
Thukral resonated with Sawhney and said that when it comes to online trolling, we as individuals need to have a filter as well. “We need not give attention to everything we come across online. Be smart and educated enough to know what is right and what is wrong. We know that people do pass obnoxious comments on the pictures that we post online, they troll as well. But let’s be smart to about what we pay attention to. However, ignorance doesn’t mean that we should stay quiet. Definitely we should take action if it crosses a limit.”
Digital Trust Dialogue aims to sensitize young women, who are at a critical stage of accepting and gaining empowerment by the internet, to the threats they may face online, and equip them with the tools they need to protect themselves online.