Pakistan has more young people than it has ever had. The average population age is 23.4 years. However, Pakistan is facing great challenges in the context of digital engagement. Continuing digitalization of the country has firmly changed the means of information and communication within society, along with creating an unjust digital divide among youth and particularly for young women to fully leverage their potential.

Weak legal framework helps perpetrators

The phrase “internet means different things to different people” aptly describes Pakistan´s society. The government and relevant bodies have a completely opposed readings of ensuring digital security, enabling online privacy rights and freedom of expression and speech for netizens. Not all citizens have the necessary information and knowledge on safe and secure cyberspace. They leave tremendous digital footprints and their personal data is compromised. This often leads to cyber harassment. In some cases, this has resulted in mental health issues like anxiety, fear, depression and isolation.

Online safety of young adults

Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) has developed a guidebook for young adults on online safety. The interventions will empower young adults to apply their fundamental right of freedom of expression in online spaces. This curriculum on data privacy and digital security particularly focuses on issues of cyber harassment, misuse of personal data and a framework for reporting perpetrators and supporting victims. It will help young adults to understand the technological and legal framework to breakdown the chain of cyber harassment and victimization. The guidebook also explains and shares multiple resources to enable strong security features and settings to deal with any threats to personal data and online freedom.

Following the publication of the guide, DRF has planned a set of activities engaging young adults to provide them with training to build their capacity to foil any attack on their digital security and privacy rights. The planned training sessions will also bring in legal experts and psychologists to give participants handy tips and techniques to cope with any unwelcome digital attack on their freedoms.

Navigating the internet requires media education.

The publication by FNF Pakistan is a guide for “safe surfing online”.

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