KARACHI: Growing instances of cyber-stalking and exploitation, tampering, defamation, morphing, visual surveillance and tracking in the country have made it necessary to take steps for the protection of rights of social media users.
This was the opinion of participants at a panel discussion, titled "Social Media: New Dimension of Violence against Women," held to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The event was hosted by Aurat Foundation at Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU), with the support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under its Gender Equity Programme (GEP).
Speaking about the psychological impact of social media violence on young girls, Dr Nousheen Shah said that it is still a largely unspoken issue even though it has increased over the past few years. There is a need to counsel the victim as well as the perpetuators, she added.
Dr Shah emphasised the need for confidence building among victims, as generally they suffer from fear and depression after going through such emotional and psychological trauma.
Jehan Ara, the president of Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITES ([email protected]), highlighted the various ways to employ and ensure safety and privacy on social media.
Technology in itself is not bad or negative but it is its use that makes it so, she said.
The younger generations need a platform for discussion and social media provides just that, she claimed.
The government must pass the cybercrime draft bill immediately to control such cyber violence and victimisation, said Advocate Muhammad Mushaffy.
Awareness programmes should be held in educational institutes to change the mindsets and attitudes of the populace rather than placing sanctions on the use of social media, said painter Nilofer Farrukh
"We cannot and should not stop the flow of technology, but should rather educate our children to use social media in a responsible and ethical manner," said Bolo Bhi director Farieha Aziz.
The discussion was followed by an interactive question and answer session.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2015.
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