Online abuse, trolling and cyber bullying are rampant in cyberspace. Research by software security firm Norton found that 76% of women under age 30 have faced some form of online abuse or harassment. The problem is a pertinent one in an age where social interactions, education and professional activities take place via a digital medium. It is important to note that many of these women never report incidents out of societal fear. It is crucial that when faced with harassment of this kind, people are aware of the options available to them to counter this abuse.
Consumer awareness programme Women Act Against Trolls (WAAT) provides a central web resource at projectwaat.org. The web page compiles information about cybercrime cells in India, cybercrime laws in the country, digital security tool kits, resources to help those facing cyber bullying, and a discussion board where people can share their stories.
“Online trolling is a reflection of the ailments plaguing our society. Limiting them requires a mind-set change more than anything else. There is a huge gender gap in the internet population; one big reason for this is the insensitive behaviour towards women users. While WAAT offers knowledge and support, it is our collective duty to create safer online space for all,” said Irwin Preet Singh Anand, COO, OLX India.
Digital Empowerment Foundation and OLX have collaborated to encourage reportage of online abuse. The initiative, Women Act Against Trolls (WAAT), aims to create awareness about the cyber laws and resources available to counter such cases. OLX WebAware, is an initiative to educate its users about safe online practices and guidelines, when transacting on its platform. The web resource will aim to build resilience and a community of support for those who have faced online abuse in order to keep them online.
“Social media is full of incidents of online abuse, trolling and cyber bullying on a daily basis. In the last few years, the number of abusive and unwanted intruders and trolls has only increased on social media and people are losing their right to express themselves freely or fear the abusive counter. In other words, virtual public spaces are often spaces that are antisocial, violent, intimidating, unfriendly, untrustworthy and unsafe. There is a need to tackle this issue, and sensitively,” says DEF Founder-Director Osama Manzar.
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The CSR Journal Team