India to Train 5000 Women in Cyber-Safety

Responsible Netism has teamed up with the Maharashtra State Commission for Women to develop a cyber-safety training program for young women in India. 

The Digital Stree Shakti program aims to teach 5000 females in 10 Maharashtra cities about how to stay safe while online. Participating students will be aged between 16 and 25. 

Training will cover areas including fake profiles, account hacking, cyber-bullying, gender-based trolling, online harassment, stalking, morphing, cyber-grooming, revenge porn, sextortion, online fraud, email spoofing and dangerous internet dares.

The program will be taught in the form of webinar sessions, instructional videos, PowerPoint presentations, and online workshops. Young women who complete the training will be awarded the title of Cyber Sakhee

Case studies taken from the real world will be included in the training, placing the very real danger of cyber-threats in context. 

Responsible Netism is a non-profit start-up that aims to promote cyber-safety by educating children and young people about how to protect themselves while online. Founder Sonali Patankar revealed that the program hadn't been created solely as an educational tool.

“We also play the role of being a referral organization,’’ she said. “We connect participants facing online distress with the local law enforcement, local organizations and mental health professionals for any psychological support required in terms of counseling or other interventions.’’

Trainees will be taught how to detect and report cybercrimes and where to go if they become victims of cyber-threats such as virtual bullying. A recent study conducted by Responsible Netism and the Cyber Peace Foundation supported by Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training found that 80% of school students aged 10 to 17 in Maharashtra do not report the cybercrimes they experience online to their parents, teachers, or the police.

Patankar said that courses would be available in Marathi, Hindi, and English, with students invited to choose whichever language they find most comfortable for their instruction. 

Maharashtra State Commission for Women member secretary Aastha Luthra said: “Our initiative to empower young women digitally is a way to strengthen and make them more confident and competent to cope with the challenges which have emerged in the present times. The program also underscores the commitment and dedication of the commission.’’

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