How can I help girls navigate the web safely?

A guide aimed at equipping teachers, parents and workers in order to better help and understand what some girls are going through online has just been published. A precious tool to discover.

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A guide aimed at equipping teachers, parents and workers in order to better help and understand what some girls are going through online has just been published. A precious tool to discover.

As part of the Click Project, the YWCA, in collaboration with Habilomédias, has put together a guide that aims to create a safer online world for girls. A guide for trusted adults: practical tips and tools to help girls and young women navigate online is intended for adults who are significant in adolescent girls' lives, especially teachers.

Thus well-equipped and well-informed, teachers will be able to help girls navigate online better and prevent cyberviolence.

What is cyberviolence?

Cyberviolence refers to “any harmful act committed through networked technology. "(Source: Guide for trusted adults, p. 5.). We are therefore talking about cyberbullying and invasion of privacy by harassing or stalking a person through social media, texts, emails or online applications.

The good and bad ways to support girls

guide-adultes-confianceThe guide begins with a list of things not to do, that is, behaviors to avoid so as not to undermine the confidence of girls who confide in teachers or other trusted adults. It is not recommended to minimize the cases, to react too strongly to confidences, to prohibit the use of the social networks in question or to believe that the girls know these platforms well and that the interventions are not necessary.

Then, the best practices to adopt are discussed. As a teacher, it is important to listen to the teenager who confides in you. It helps to know the platforms and sites where harassment can occur. The actions to be taken in the face of harassment by a stranger or by a peer are therefore different and depend on the context.

It also explains how to collect evidence of harassment and how to report cases of cyberbullying, for example, by notifying the security centers of the various social media platforms, by blocking the offending stranger, by reporting the case to the school or by reporting to the police. The roles, rights and responsibilities of each are explained as well as the criminal consequences that may arise.

Online relationships

Online relationships raise issues that may worry teenage girls and ask them questions about ways to behave online. The guide offers ways to support girls in dealing with conflicts with their virtual friends and explains the concepts of sexting, online flirting, sexting, photo sharing and many more. By being informed, trusted adults help prevent problems.

Prevention in the classroom

Prevention is carried out at home, in the classroom or in other places of socialization. The guide suggests addressing issues of sexism and interpersonal relationships in the media with adolescent girls and setting a good example by seeking permission before posting a photo to the web. Awareness can be done in the classroom through activities that promote critical thinking and respect for girls.

To help teachers, a list of questions to stimulate discussion is provided at the end of the guide. These conversation starters will help to see if teenage girls are well informed and equipped about cyberbullying and if they are adopting good virtual practices.

A guide for trusted adults is therefore a valuable tool for all trusted adults who rub shoulders with adolescent girls. The teacher, like the parent or caregiver, may be better able to help and understand what some girls are going through online.

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About the Author

Josée Tardif
Josée Tardif
Josée is a reviser, translator and blogger. She holds a bachelor's degree in French studies, a master's degree in information science and a certificate in translation. She is interested in the world of books, education, family and social issues. She also contributes to the blog of the web magazine Planet F and has his own blog Life Etc.

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