Think before you click!

―Female students equipped to protect themselves from online threats

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Young girls were today educated on how to protect themselves online through a cybersecurity workshop being facilitated by the National Frequency Management Unit.

The exercise which was held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre featured students from six schools and is part of the lead up to Girls in ICT Day slated for April.

Participating schools included St. Joseph High, St. Roses High, President’s College, Tutorial High, North Georgetown and Brickdam Secondary.

The ICT sector is said to be the fastest growing and according to facilitator of the workshop Melissa Layne, the primary focus is to equip young girls with the necessary knowledge to protect themselves from online threats.

“We are talking to them about how to protect their privacy online. What to post, what not to post, when to post, which websites are safe, which websites are not safe, how to recognise ads that may be targeted to steal their information, how they can actually find a balance between spending hours on the screens and finding activities in real life that can benefit them from a health perspective” Layne stated.

Managing Director of NFMU, Valmikki Singh said that it is important that more girls are involved in the ICT sector. “Worldwide, women and girls are very underrepresented in the information and communications technology sector. That is a big problem because almost half of the creativity and innovativeness and the approach to problem-solving comes from half of our population and that is not something, we can afford to continue any longer” Singh underscored.

Singh said the ICT sector also provides women with an alternative career option that is male-dominated. He is also encouraging them to take advantage of the free online courses in the ICT field.

The students were also enthusiastic about what they learnt at the workshop. Kyla Jeffery of St. Joseph High also shared Singh’s view on women’s involvement in the sector. “Sometimes it is very important that women could do the same things that males could do, and I just want to know how equal it could be between the male and female sharing the same reference in the IT world,” Jeffery said.

Renique Hamilton from the Tutorial High said, “I love information technology and I would like to learn how I can protect myself while surfing the internet.”

The government has a strong stance on the development of ICT in Guyana and having girls included. Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes has been a strong advocate for young girls and women to use ICT to empower and develop themselves.

“You have more power at your fingertips than entire generations who came before you. Technology is a possibility; it is adaptable; it is capable but it’s only a tool. It’s not about what technology can do, it’s about what you can do with it” Minister Hughes stated.

Isaiah Braithwaite

Images: Ameer Sattaur

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