CybHER- Making Cyberspace Safe for Women and Children

“CybHER- Making Cyberspace Safe for Women and Children”, a month-long online awareness campaign launched by Women Safety Wing, Telangana State Police in association with the Legal Aid Centre, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad. It covered a multitude of themes pertaining to cyber safety with an aim to create awareness and offer proactive measures for women and children. With the rise of COVID-19, people have started to spend more time in cyberspace. Children and Women are especially exposed to the Internet, making them the perfect prey to online crimes, thereby making the need for this campaign ever more essential. CybHER was supported by ISEA-CDAC, SCERT, TSBIE, UNICEF India, Cyberspace Foundation, ISAC, WiCSP and Lead Life Foundation. It commenced on the 15th of July 2020 by Hon’ble DGP M. Mahender Reddy, IPS., in the presence of prominent figures and celebrities. For active engagement and interactions with all participants, the campaign was done in a multi-fold manner with several deliverables.

The live sessions were taken by various cyber experts including police officers from the department, who substantially laid out relevant and significant information on all sub-themes that were to be addressed in the sessions such as Right and wrong online, Gender-Based Bullying, preventing cyber sexual abuse of women and children, tackling sexual harassment against women, Safety measures while purchasing online and Why online privacy matters? The campaign also included posters and modules on cyber grooming, sexting, online rules to be followed, cyber vigilance, pornography, identity theft, safety from matrimonial scams, secure digital payments, purchase now/ pay later and impact of cyber victimization. Pre-recorded videos on cyber trolling, cyberstalking, false information, risks of online gaming, pornography, use of the internet for rural women, survivors of cybercrimes, real job offers and reliable websites were also put up to meet the convenience of all participants, thereby, making these available and easily accessible at all times.

The campaign consisted of competitions such as poster and poem writing competitions and quizzes, on overcoming cyberbullying and trolling, the threat of cyber harassment, sexual extortion and addiction to social media. Several polls were also put up asking questions on cyber safety, hence increasing all possible ways of inculcating online awareness in citizens. The campaign also included an initiative known as CybHER Pathshala targeting the schools, children and parents which included various live sessions on cyber safety workshops for Parents and students, conducted separately by cyber experts like Mrs. K. Indraveni, Mr. Raskhit Tandon, Mr. Sebastian, by Mr. Rohit Sriwastva and Mr. Pavan Duggal.

The speakers who covered the sessions of CybHER included N. Swetha, IPS – SP Kamareddy District, Telangana State, Shri Ch A S Murty – Associate Director, C-DAC Hyderabad, Co-ordinator, ISEA Project, Shri. R. Bhaskaran, IPS – SP, Suryapet District, Telangana, Ms. Shweta Chawla – Cyber Solutions, Mr. Nitish Chandan – Cyber Peace Foundation, Saakshar Duggal – Youth Coordinator at Centre Against Cyber Bullying, Karthik Varma – Cybersecurity Expert, Ms. Juhi Kaul – Instructor for Defence Forces on Media Training, Ms. Rema Rajeshwari, IPS – SP, Mahabubnagar District, Telangana, Mr. Rajshekhar Murthy – Director (Ethics and Integrity), ISAC, Ms. Janice Verghese – Cyber Lawyer, Cyber Peace Foundation, Akancha Srivastava – Cyber Safety Expert, Rakshit Tandon – Cyber Security Expert Advisor, Cyber Peace Foundation, Avinash Mohanty, IPS – Joint Commissioner of Police Hyderabad, Pavan Duggal – Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Rohit Srivatswa – Author of “My Data My Privacy My Choice”, Rohini Priyadarshini, IPS – Cyber Crimes, Cyberabad, Sailaja Vadlamudi – Founder, WiSCP, Sebastian Edassery – Cyber Forensic Expert, Rupesh Mittal – Founder of Cyber Jagrithi.

Towards the end of the campaign, all activities and information sent out included the positive side of cyberspace with quite many ways to make oneself busy during the difficult times of this pandemic and also on how careers can be built with efficient use of the internet. At the end, a “CybHER kit” was also released, by DGP and other dignitaries which consists of a Safety Guide to Cyber Crimes, Handbook for Tackling Cyber Crimes, Hanuboat- a comic book on a cyber defender, a Parental Guidelines book on digital safety and an Ode to CybHER (Compilation of best poems received in the poem writing competition). Throughout the campaign, all the supporting partners helped in creating many of the several activities conducted as part of cybHER along with helping in the efficient execution.

CybHER, in the course of one month, gained 12,000 participants and reached out to 50 lakh people, which is now demonstrated as one of the role model concepts for e-policing in the Country. While this campaign is coming to an end, our mission to support women and make them self-reliant will never end. The Women Safety Wing will always carry in our hearts the memory of this incredible journey CybHER. Stay in this fight with us. Let us go forward together, as our goal continues.