Safer Internet Day is celebrated in around 150 countries across the world. The day aims to create a safer and better internet, where everybody is able to use technology responsibly, respectfully, creatively and critically. The theme of the Safer Internet Day 2020 is “together for a better internet”.
Importance of Safer Internet Day in 2020
India has the second-largest number of internet users in the world with almost half a billion users according to a report by a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). But as the great saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility”, the Internet can be a double-edged sword. It has been reported that internet penetration in the country is faster than literacy penetration. While on one hand, the internet is empowering young Indians to conquer the world, on the other hand, it is leaving them vulnerable to cybercrimes, bullying and fraud. In fact, the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2019 has ranked data breaches, data theft and cyberattacks among the top five global risks.
In such a scenario, Safer Internet Day holds a special significance in 2020 to ensure more security and a better experience for internet users. Let us look at four ways in which we can promote safe internet for Indians on this International Safer Internet Day.
Educating Indians on safe usage and navigation of the Internet
We teach children how to ride a bicycle and navigate traffic and other dangers lurking outside. But the same is not repeated when they access a smartphone and get connected to the world at large through the internet. It is a common practice in Indian households to handover a smartphone to toddlers so that he or she do not disturb the parents who are busy working, chatting or binging on a TV show.
With India having the cheapest internet in the world, and people adopting the technology rapidly, they are exposed to more danger than ever. Today. a child has the freedom to access whatever the internet dishes out, often subjecting them to age-inappropriate and violent content as well as cyberbullying.
As we have advanced technologically, the crimes too have moved from offline to online. People have no idea about cyberbullying, ransomware, cybercrime or getting stalked on the internet. There are countless cases wherein people have suffered online abuse in India leading to mental health issues as well as physical harm.
Educating the netizens about safe usage of internet needs to be a top priority. To enable that, corporates, schools and civil society will need to make a collaborative effort and reach out to students and their guardians. The stakeholders need to be informed about the drawbacks and dangers of the web so that they can take measures to protect themselves from the evils of the technology.
Educate people on how to use social media safely in India
India has the highest number of users of Facebook in the world. India has the highest number of users of WhatsApp in the world. India has the second-highest number of users on Instagram. These are numbers which show how active India is when it comes to social media but this makes the issue of cyber safety all the more important.
It is very common for people to share their personal lives online. They share the pictures of themselves, families, friends, where they’ve been, where they are going and where exactly they are right now. This would have been ok if the information is meant only for their families and friends but this vital information is for all to see as majority of them don’t change privacy settings and keep their data visible to all.
The minimum age to sign up for Facebook and WhatsApp is 13 years but if you dive deep, you will find thousands of users in India who are way below this age limit.
If there are so many users who are already so active on these social media platforms, it makes sense to have social media awareness programmes in India to educate people on how to navigate social media safely.
Instagram’s Unlabel India Campaign
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