National consultation on creating digital safe spaces for youth in India
At the event, a panel discussion was held on cyberbullying, phishing, malware, fake news and Being Responsible Online.
To celebrate International Youth Day, falling on 12 Aug, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS), Government of India and UNDP India, mutually organized today a national consultation on creating digital safe spaces for youth at the India Habitat Center, New Delhi. The event held a panel discussion on how to create digital safe spaces for youth, ensuring their dignity and safety.
We are living in a digital era where technology has transformed almost every bit of our life. Technology-driven innovations are transforming the world with the increased use of the internet, online platforms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data and much more, but the pervasive nature of technology brings challenges as well.
The undeniable truth about technologies is that it could be destructive too; all depends on how we use it. Internet, for instance, is the platform where security and privacy of our data have always been questioned. In recent times, we have seen many cases of data breaches, cyber-attacks, cyberbullying, phishing etc. Furthermore, criminals exploit social media to rapidly distribute false news and other forms of misinformation.
A study by tech giant Microsoft in 2012 found that 43 percent of tweens and teens in India have experienced online bullying while 52 percent have bullied people on social media. Women, more specifically, are vulnerable to deliberate online violence. A study by the Indian Cyber Army found that 66 percent of women in India who face online harassment are between 15-24 year.
At the event, a panel discussion was held on cyberbullying, phishing, malware, fake news and Being Responsible Online. The event saw the participation of students from over 8 schools and 12 colleges from Delhi and by Mr. Asit Singh, Joint Secretary, Youth Affairs, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS), Arun Sahdeo, Programme Officer, UNV India and Marina Walter, Deputy Country Director, UNV India, among the delegation.
"With 35 million youth in India expected to be using the Internet by 2020, there is a need to ensure safe access to digital media, especially with an increase in events of cyberbullying," said Arun Sahdeo.
"The youth provide different solutions and different perspectives and we need to build digital safe spaces for the youth of the country to capture their inputs. India will be the youngest country in the world by 2020. We need to focus on how to create both physical and digital safe spaces for them," stated Marina Walter, Deputy Country Director, UNV India.
In the age of social media domination, young people in India and across the world are vulnerable to cyber bullying, especially 28 million students who are using the Internet. This definitely calls to #BeSafeOnline #SafeSpaces4Youth #DidYouKnow pic.twitter.com/W8oIyfWCpC— UNV India (@UNV_India) August 9, 2018
Mr Asit Singh, Joint Secretary, youth affairs @YASMinistry acknowledges partnership between Government of India, @UNV_India and @UNDP_India #IYD2018 #SafeSpaces4Youth #BeSafeOnline pic.twitter.com/vF2y6UPo3W— UNV India (@UNV_India) August 9, 2018
In addition, the delegates also launched 'Let's YoungAge', a toolkit that empowers youth workers to engage with diverse groups of young people to build their skills for volunteering in the community.
International Youth Day is observed every year on 12 August to recognize the contribution of youth in the development process and to raise awareness about the situation and challenges faced by them, globally. The theme for IYD2018 is "Safe Spaces for Youth" that seeks to provide safe spaces for youths, be it public, civic, physical or digital, where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision-making processes and freely express themselves.