Top Tips To Make Your Online Experiences Safer

Pamela Connellan
on 8 April 2021

Right now, women all around the world are expressing their dissatisfaction with widespread inequality and at the same time, they’re expressing themselves more in the digital space. As they do this, it’s important to use technology to navigate the digital world their own way and a website called JustSociale has been set up to help with the ‘Top Tips’ to make your online world safer.

Sarah Liberty is the CEO for JustSociale and as she says she created the site to promote awareness of human rights online and to prevent harmful online behaviour.

Research from Amnesty International shows 30% of women have experienced some form of online abuse.

Liberty says the research shows 30% of women experience some form of online abuse and: I should know, because I’m one of them. I’ve experienced my email and social media accounts being hacked by an ex partner in a domestically violent relationship, and have been trolled as a public figure who is fearless in speaking out about human rights.”

Liberty continues, saying one of the biggest problems with online abuse is that harmful comments, threatening messages and unwanted explicit content are just the beginning. While these actions are taking place on the Internet, alarmingly, more than a third of the women experiencing these threats are made to feel physically unsafe from these online experiences.

“The protests that took place around the country a few weeks ago have shown us women are, more than ever, willing to speak up for themselves and say ‘enough is enough.'”

Here are the top tips from JustSociale which will help empower you to navigate the online world safely…

Be aware of your online human rights

Did you know that your online human rights are no different to your offline human rights? No matter what digital platform you are using, you deserve to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect. In fact, any violation of this is an offence. If you want to know more,you can read the rights charters of the different platforms you are using. You can find these in a handy resource centre on the JustSociale website here

Be mindful of privacy

Think carefully about monitoring your privacy settings. Remember that everything you share online stays online forever, so if you share personal information, consider how it may be perceived and impact your reputation or level of safety. 

Report unwanted behaviour

If you’ve been abused or harassed online, you have the right to take action – swiftly. If you feel threatened, in danger or concerned about the way someone is interacting with you online, you should document these messages and any interaction (for example, by screen-shotting posts or messages) and then block them and report this immediately via the platform the people interacting with you are on.

Each online platform has mechanisms in place for reporting unacceptable, abusive or harmful content. 

Unplug regularly

Keep an eye on your screen time because while it’s good to connect online, you should have a healthy tech/life balance. Many adults spend on average 11 hours of their day looking at their screens. Whilst there are no specific guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation concerning the amount of screen time recommended for adults, at JustSociale we believe the goal is to find a balance between screen-based and non-screen activities. 

Be a good Digital Citizen

Digital citizenship, a concept endorsed by UNESCO, is a term which describes how a person should act when using digital technology online.

At JustSociale, we believe and encourage everyone to act responsibly when using the Internet and communications technologies, including computers, laptops, smartphones or tablets. Being a good digital citizen includes being aware of certain aspects of your online activities. How do you know if you are being a good digital citizen? Start by asking yourself if you’re treating others the way you would want to be treated online.

Here are stories from three women who are helping make the Internet more empowering:

Today, this is particularly relevant to women who want to own their space in the digital world, so I want to share the stories of three incredible women who are paving the way,” Liberty says.

“These women are helping to make social media platforms accessible for all. Each of these women inspire me to stay true to myself, to not let haters win, and to not be afraid to share my own story,” adds Liberty.

Melissa Griffiths – Transgender Advocate

As a transgender advocate, I use social media platforms such as LinkedIn and others to freely express myself as a woman. These platforms enable me to claim my space online and have a voice to make it better for transgender people in society, wherever they are in the world.

By sharing my story online this inspires others to do likewise and to make a difference in human rights online and in their own community. Taking back the technology enables us to stand up to online bullies and make it safer online for all. 

You can find out more from Melissa Griffith at her website here.

Lisa Cox – Advocate for the Disabled

I understand that it can be difficult for people to say the ‘right’ thing to someone with a disability online. Simply ask yourself: ‘Would I say this to a non-disabled person?’ You’re unlikely to approach a stranger and ask them directly about a personal and private matter. So please pay disabled people the same courtesy and respect. If you wouldn’t say it in public then don’t say it online.

I would also kindly ask that all Instagrammers use Alt-text. It’s an ‘advanced option’ just before you post. It means that visually impaired people can use their screen-reader software to tell them what your picture shows. It means more people can access your content and you simply have to give a description of what the image portrays.

For more from Lisa Cox, visit her website here.

Philippa Velhino – Sex Worker Rights Advocate and Freelance Photographer

I use social media platforms such as Instagram to promote my work, and whilst I adhere closely to guidelines around nudity, I believe that sexuality is an important component to our humanity and that everybody should be free to express themselves online. My work celebrates the beauty of our sexuality, and I believe social media and the Internet are important places for people to connect with my work and for others in my industry to feel included.

You can see some of Philippa Velhino’s work at this website here.

For more about JustSociale you can visit the website here.

Sarah Liberty Bio: Sarah Liberty is the Founder and CEO of JustSociale. A social entrepreneur, public speaker, radio presenter, podcaster and human rights advocate. She hosts a weekly international #FeministFriday Podcast available on major podcast platforms and she’s an Ambassador for the UN Women’s #GenerationEquality campaign. 

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