Unless one is in the Defence forces flying fighter jets, patrolling in disturbed areas or sailing in deep seas to ensure that the country is safe, every normal citizen wants to be in a safe place, be it physical or a virtual space.
Talking of virtual spaces and social networking, the first few names that come into my mind are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To be or not to be on these portals depends on how secure they are. Being a girl, a Defence wife, and a Fauji brat, the first and foremost concern that springs to my mind before registering myself on any virtual portal are ‘will the content that I put or the what people see of me remain safe?’, depending on which I decide whether I must surface my presence on these spaces or no, which to me and also to many would sound pretty fair.
Long back (I don’t even remember when it was), I created an account of mine on Twitter on being asked by my friends. Despite having an account, I was never interested in operating it as I was unsure of how it worked in terms of its safety policies. There is a rising graph of issues concerning with safety and security that women face online, the most common of which are- stalking, cybercrime, voyeurism, morphing of pictures. It’s important for women to know how to deal such problems. Yes, besides safety and security provisions that the portal has to offer, one also needs to put some efforts in making themselves safe, like;
- Trusting one’s instinct: what one feels from inside plays a critical role in your safety. If you feel something’s wrong, go ahead in taking an action against it (block, delete, mute, abort)without reasoning it to anyone.
- If you are exploited (god forbid), it isn’t your fault. Step ahead; make a report against the suspected exploiter.
- Always remember, your safety is also your concern. Make sure you don’t interact with people you don’t know.
- Refrain from exchanging personal information on public platforms.
- Periodically one must review their online activities to prune out people who you no longer have any connections with.
Having in mind the above mentioned concerns, I recently went through the Safety Policies of Twitter and learnt how they reach out to users who have filed concerns related to abusive behavior like
- violent threats(abusive behavior, harassment, hateful conduct, multiple account abuse, private information)
- hateful conduct
- leaking private information
- child sexual abuse
- Non Consensual Nudity
With some really powerful tools of privacy like blocking, muting, and an efficient help desk, Twitter indeed is empowering their users to control their experience along with strongly maintaining what it essentially came in for- ‘to create and share ideas and information instantly without Barriers’.
Also, Twitter has come out with Twitter Tools: A Visual Guide (in Hindi), so that they could reach out to a wider audience, which is no doubt a great initiative taken by them. It’s a simple guide, aimed at being understood by a layman or a newbie at Twitter.
Knowing the comfort it provides to people who use it and being satisfied with the safety policies, I did get tempted to re-activate my account and am happily now connected with and to so many! Internet in today’s time is one of the greatest tools of reaching out to the masses and to people connected to you, and if these portals that offer this service are so safe, especially for women and girls….why not be on it and get our views across!
…and because in the end safety matters and feeling safe is important!
Happy tweeting, Guys!
Since June 2015, US Congress along with National Cyber Security Alliance, has declared June every year to be Internet Safety Month. We at CSR invite you to share your experiences with issues of online safety and cyber crime with us. Send in your experiences and thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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