Tackling Fake News And Cyber Bullying

Social Media Matters (SMM) conducted a workshop on Online Safety which comprised on topics like Safety and Security, Fake News, Online Communication at Saraswati Vidyalaya, Goa. The online session was moderated by Arnika Singh and Pratishtha Arora, Program Managers at SMM. The workshop comprised a mixed group of 65 participants from classes 9th and 10th.

Tackling Fake News And Cyber Bullying
The workshop commenced with an introductory round of trainers. Majority of kids admitted to use WhatsApp among social media platforms while some agreed to be active on Facebook and Instagram. Further Arnika asked about the fake news trends to which the students responded sharing their experiences. One of the students, Prathamesh Gawas shared, “I got a voice message that my number has won 25 lakh Rupees and a photo from Kaun Banega Crorepati.” Another student Diksha Tari said, “I got a message that I had won an iPhone. Vedant Parab, a student among the participants shared his experiences on online scams. He said, “Once I got news that the government is supplying laptops where it required me to fill the form. Also, my father had received a message from a fake Facebook account demanding Rs 10,000.” Vedant also said he came across fake holiday packages online. A student Mugdha Marathe received fake news on coronavirus. Arnika highlighted upon a timely response to fake news. She said, “If you ever receive Fake news do intimate your guardians, parents, teachers and discuss with them. It’s important to re-check the information which you receive through any social media portal.”

Getting further into online frauds, another student Rahul Khedekar said, “I received a call from someone asking me which political party do I support.” He further added, “There are many fake accounts of big celebrities and businesses.”

Talking about Fake News and information, students were keen to keep the discussion going but it was also important to highlight how such news also leads to bullying. To set the context a video was screened along with a video on ‘5 online safety tips.’ We believe that the age group of the students’ needs to be aware about the online safety mechanisms as they are the most vulnerable users.

Further, the trainers also discussed the online safety mechanisms and how to safeguard identity in the online world. The students asked relevant questions regarding fake news and online frauds. One of the students asked ‘What will happen if we fill any random online form?’ The session concluded with a round of Q&A.

It was a vibrant group of students who showed keen interest in learning and sharing about online safety. It is believed that the more discussions are initiated there will be more sensitized and responsible netizens in the coming years.
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