The recent blue whale challenge and the suicide of a 14 year old is an alarm that just rang across the globe. Like many others, I know for a fact that this will be snoozed as well. For another day they said, awareness is a matter for another day. As the world tackles to protect infrastructure and servers whose breach cause catastrophe, lives are being affected, and lost. For any of you blaming it on social media and the digital revolution, I could only partially agree with you.
It is not about this blue whale challenge or the selfie madness that has caused deaths, it is the problem that cyber awareness and cyber hygiene is absent among the community members in the country. Yes, victims are spread across the world but even across the world, the problem is the lack of communication in these highly connected times. Cyber Bullying is real, children are facing it but the best most people do it shun them. Sometimes the kids won’t speak and the other times the adults won’t listen. Cyber awareness and hygiene has to be taught to adults and kids alike for there is no censorship on what kids get online. This is not a battle to block access or play blames, but to do something about education in cyber safety.
I’ve suggested multiple times and I am of the strong opinion that no cyber security platform or technology can protect an individual who is not aware. It might seem funny but it is as simple as when things were started to be labeled. You are not supposed to touch or eat rat poison because the label says so. You learned how to read and so you know what it says. The Internet and computer technologies have become a part of almost everybody’s lives today and learning their language is important in order to stay safe. One needs to know what the risks are, what kind of cases happen, what all is at stake and what do the victims have to say. All of this, please don’t feel that it is hearsay. On many occasions after workshops, we have had kids come up to us and discuss some very serious problems about cyber bullying which they were ashamed of talking about otherwise. Things get sorted when kids talk to parents and the parents take them seriously or in cases, even a school teacher or a friend who is aware themselves. What we are missing in this heated spur around the blue whale challenge is that it is one of those many challenges that have claimed lives but it is certainly not the last of them. How are you going to protect your friend?
Awareness empowers people, it affects them, it is the only driver of change that is bound to bring a change.