A very short story about digital security for young women

September 22, 2020
 Image of the AXIS event logo
Image of the AXIS event logo

So, why has it become more important for young women to get to know about digital security? Because more and more, they’re using and living in the internet world, either for education, to earn some money, or simply to have fun. The exposure of young women to the digital world brings another effect – online harassment – which also has implication on their offline life. In recent research, Web Foundation mentioned several threats online for women and girls in the internet world.

I won’t write about the material or technical components of digital security training, since every organization has their own module. Instead, I’ll discuss how to set up a training to become more appealing and friendly for a group of young women and less intimidating, without lessening the importance of the training.

Go to a laid back and discreet place

To create a laid back and fun situation, first we need to decide the theme and place. A small home with an open garden could be a good option, or if you have enough budget, we can organize a training in a resort, far away from bustling city life. Try to find a place that is discreet and quiet. To protect peoples’ security, the training will minimize the involvement of social media – no mentions, no tagging, and minimize publications. A lesson that they also will learn in the training is that when it’s necessary, they can completely disconnect from the online world.

Create a fun ambience

While the term “training” could feel intimidating, we can choose a different format that is more fun for participants. Borrowing the format of a book club perhaps could help. When it comes to the session organizing, the participants could divide into a small groups, with 1-2 facilitators. Like a book club, the session is about sharing experiences from participants and the facilitator, covering what they need to know about digital security. It’s possible that ice-breaking activities would be needed to create closeness and gain trust among the participants and the facilitator. The more relaxed the discussion is, the more sharing of knowledge that will take place among participants and facilitators.

Setup the mind

Digital security training material is available widely on the internet. What we need is to raise the awareness and the implementation of these recommendations. Participants can start to become more aware of what platforms they use, and how to be more safe when using them. An introduction to open source platforms could also be a good place to start, as an alternative to closed source platforms that are relatively widely used. All they need to know to start is to be aware that digital harm could attack anybody.

And, what’s next?

There are several ways to create activities after training, as a follow up. Create online groups or some meet ups after the training, if possible. You could create a catchy ‘digital security tips and tricks’ guide, both in online and offline form, as a tool to use when we need to distribute information to people who don’t have sufficient access to the internet.