• Thursday, Jan 20, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Report: 1 in 5 girls feel unsafe online

  • Published at 09:12 pm October 5th, 2021
web-cyber-crime
Representational Photo Bigstock

Most of the respondents believed Facebook contained the highest amount of misinformation and disinformation, the report says

False information online has left one in five girls (20%) feeling physically unsafe, according to a new report by the humanitarian organization Plan International.

Their Truth Gap research includes a landmark survey of over 26,000 girls and young women from 26 countries.

The report found that exposure to lies and mistruths are having a profound impact on how young women engage with issues ranging from Covid-19 to politics.

The organization is calling on governments to educate children and young people in digital literacy.

At least one in three reports says that false information is affecting the young generation’s mental health, leaving them feeling stressed, worried and anxious.

In-depth interviews carried out by Plan International suggest that girls are feeling unsafe because online exchanges are increasing social tensions within communities.

Others reported concerns about bogus events advertised on social media placing them at physical risk or unreliable medical advice that could harm their health.

More than a quarter (28%) of those surveyed have been led to believe a myth or “fake fact” about Covid-19, and one in four (25%) have questioned whether to get vaccinated against the virus.

About one in five (19%) say mistruths are so rife that they have distrusted election results, while one in five (18%) have stopped engaging in politics or current affairs as a result.

Girls and young women from low and middle-income countries were more likely to be affected by unreliable or false information online, and twice as likely to have questioned whether to get the vaccine (31%) than those in high-income countries (16%).

The survey found that Facebook was the social media platform that girls believe to have the most misinformation and disinformation, selected by 65% of respondents, followed by TikTok, WhatsApp and YouTube – all at 27%.

According to Charlotte (name changed), 23, from Wales, the abundance of false information on the internet can leave people “very, very vulnerable”.

Bhagyashri Dengle, executive director of Gender Transformative Policy at Plan International, said: “The internet shapes girls’ opinions about themselves, the issues they care about and the world around them. It is dangerous, it affects girls’ mental health, and it’s yet another thing holding them back from engaging in public life.”

The organization’s survey found that seven out of ten girls and young women (67%) have never been taught how to spot misinformation or disinformation at school.

Mia, 20, from Kenya, said: “We are in a world where everything is being done on the internet. We are doing everything digitally. So I think digital literacy should be taught in schools from...primary schools to secondary schools to universities. So that when we grow up, we have a better view on how to use our digital platforms.”

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail