On Sunday, December 17, UNICEF India and Learning Links Foundation organised a Digital Wellness Carnival for children and young adults to empower youth online and teach them how to make the best use of digital tools while growing up online. Apart from the students, the event was also open to parents, teachers and caregivers.

UNICEF also released its global report State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World. Despite children’s massive online presence – 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child – too little is done to protect them from the perils of the digital world and to increase their access to safe online content, UNICEF said in its annual flagship report.

FII Founder Japleen Pasricha was invited at the Digital Wellness Carnival to hold a workshop on giving the youth, especially young girls, more power online. In this session, Japleen talked about gender bias in online spaces and suggested ways on how to empower the youth, especially girls, online.

She started the workshop with an exercise to check how strong is your password. The students were a pleasant surprise! Only some of them had put their birthdates in their passwords. The rest had no personal data and had put special characters in their passwords. Most of the students were also aware of 2 Factor Authentication and explained the process to the crowd at large.

Then Japleen talked about mobile apps and how to keep your phone safe. It is not advisable to keep your Location, WiFi etc on when you’re not using them. Not only do they eat your phone’s battery unnecessarily, but you can be easily tracked and hacked via GPS Location and open, unsafe and public WiFis, respectively.

The conversation went from webcam stickers à la Snowden to Snapchat and safe sexting. We discussed how to send private sexy photos of yourself and safely (here’s a handy guide) and how story features in new apps like Snapchat and Instagram are safer than WhatsApp and Facebook, where you can send photos for a particular period of time and get alerted when someone takes a screenshot.

Japleen concluded with discussions on consent and making informed choices on the internet, for example, not sharing your passwords with anyone including your parents, siblings, friends and girlfriends and boyfriends. Online safety and digital security don’t always have to about high-end technology like encryption or using VPNs, but just taking basic precautionary measures and using one’s common sense can ensure that you keep yourself, your loved ones and your devices safe.

Also read: A Participant’s Learnings From Our Workshop On Combatting Online Violence

Leave a Reply