Online Safety: Take A Leap On The Internet, But Be Smart, Say Experts
Today, the virtual and real world have sort of merged together. It has become imperative for everyone regardless of demography, location, gender etc. to have an identity online. But while the online arena offers a lot of opportunities to grow, meet new people and network, it also has its downside. While connecting with new people may mean personal or professional growth, it also generates fear of the unknown and what it may unravel to be.
To discuss the opportunities in the digital space, increased online crime and precautions one must take to be safe and alert in the virtual world, SheThePeople.TV has come up with an awareness drive. It is specifically focused towards young college-going girls and informs them about online prospects and how to be safe online—Digital Trust Dialogues.
We are all there in the online space, giving out information about our day-to-day life, thinking who would want anything to do with it? You may be wrong here, says online entrepreneur Sakshi Talvar. “A potential hacker can know that we are at a given location and time. They can also identify your gender and other information. So basically, you are giving out a lot of information. I am not trying to say don’t post online, but everybody is prone to identity theft or cyber espionage and this is why it is important to safeguard yourself,” she said.
Adding to this, SheThePeople.TV founder, Shaili Chopra told the crowd of young girls of Kamala Nehru College to think of safety tools as not something of concern, but something that should become a part of your routine. She said, “Make safety and privacy a part of your routine and then utilize the internet for what it really is—to help you with opportunities, connect you with the rest of the world, know your network.”
Very importantly, she said that the idea of the internet is not to fear it, but to embrace it. “But as you do that, know what the pitfalls are.”
MEN FOR WOMEN’S SAFETY
Be it in the online space or offline, safety is a concern we have as strongly today as we have had through ages. But the digital world has its own set of sexist people and patriarchal mindsets and as much as we need men’s support in the real world, it is of as much importance online. Talking about it, Ravi Kant of NGO Shakti Vahini said, “The role of men is very important and more of us should start speaking up for women. The best place to raise your voice is their own homes where gender discrimination starts from and goes out in society. They should break the culture of silence and understand the issues women face in society.”
He also enlightened the crowd of the several cases that his NGO has dealt with related to scam advertisements online. Kant spoke of trafficking cases where men and women were trafficked to different cities after trusting fake online advertisements. He cautioned the students of such scams that may lead them in difficult situations.
“You can find your space and call your own online and that’s the most important part of the internet. We don’t have to keep looking at other entrepreneurs and say, ‘oh how cool that they are so big’. Today each one of you can become an entrepreneur.”
Chopra emphasized the opportunities that internet has to offer even to college students fresh out of universities. “You can find your space and call your own online and that’s the most important part of the internet. We don’t have to keep looking at other entrepreneurs and say, ‘oh how cool that they are so big’. Today each one of you can become an entrepreneur. There’s a girl who started out because of her passion for crochet and she decided to setup a website to monetize it.”
“When you think of entrepreneurship, you don’t need to have an office today or 25 people employed under you. What you need is yourself and the passion to start online. Don’t fear from starting up anything on your own. There is a market for everything that you think of making today,” Chopra added.
Talvar talked about the blogging industry and how it is flourishing on the internet where one doesn’t have to go to an office to start writing about what they want to write about.
Ravi Kant stressed on the safety aspect but said that people across the board have to enjoy the internet for what it offers, but be smart about it.