Jamshedpur: The Internet is a blessing, but with trolls, polarised views, finance scams, revenge porn, body shaming, fake news and other dangers, it can also be a dark place.
To make Internet users responsible and aware, Ranchi-based Cyber Peace Foundation has come up with a solution, Cyber Peace Corps.
Through volunteers, Cyber Peace Corps, set up in 2013 but more active in the last couple of months, aims to transform the way people negotiate the e-world.
Volunteers will approach schools, colleges, housing complexes, religious outfits, playschools and other institutions to find a target group of Internet users who knowingly or unknowingly put themselves in danger or foment hate.
Vineet Kumar, founder of Cyber Peace Foundation and a social entrepreneur, explained the concept. “Vulnerable groups fall prey to cyber crimes, polarisation, radicalisation and false news that can have a disastrous impact on society. Through Cyber Peace Corps, people can volunteer their time to empower these vulnerable groups,” he said.
Giving examples, he said many senior citizens click links that promise crores for a processing fee of some thousands. “Our volunteers can go to a housing society and educate senior citizens of this cash scam,” he said.
Similarly, young girls on Instagram and Facebook can be subject to online harassment and body shaming. Young parents often share every little detail of their child on social media platforms, which leaving them vulnerable to kidnappers and paedophiles. Youths with radicalised views use the Internet to fan hate, even with doctored videos.
To combat these, Kumar said, “Our volunteers address specific groups to neutralise or at least minimise these dangers. We recently partnered with Google for a progressive campaign to sensitise mothers on safety in virtual space.”
So far, the activity has piloted in Sapphire International School and ICFAI University, both in Ranchi, and a couple of schools in Mumbai, where students are urged to look at the bright side of the Internet and help others do so. Cyber Peace Corps already has 140 volunteers from across the globe comprising university students, corporate executives, coders, software developers, academics, cyber security experts and homemakers.
Anyone willing to volunteer can go to www.cyberpeacefoundation.org. “We want volunteers who are Internet-savvy, socially responsible and aware. The concept of Cyber Peace Corps is donating an hour a day, a day a month or a month a year to educate vulnerable groups,” Kumar said.