Following the pandemic, the significance of technology to democratize education has become increasingly apparent. However, this digital landscape is not without its shortcomings, as it has also become a breeding ground for various forms of violence and harassment, particularly affecting women and vulnerable groups. To address this pressing issue, the 2nd University Forum against #Digital_Violence, organized by UNAM, sheds light on the alarming prevalence of digital violence and the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to prevention and mitigation.
Understanding the Scope of Digital Violence
Recent findings from the National Survey on the Dynamics of Household Relationships revealed that 13% of women aged 15 and above have experienced some form of aggression through digital media. Disturbingly, these incidents are pervasive across different settings, with 14% occurring in schools, 5% in workplaces, 16% in communities, and 1% in intimate relationships. Such acts of digital violence not only infringe on human rights but also deter victims from fully embracing technology, restricting their access to education and diminishing their sense of freedom and confidence in using digital platforms.
The Role of Institutions in Prevention and Response
Tamara Martínez Ruíz, UNAM's coordinator for Gender Equality, emphasizes that institutions, including universities, must take a proactive stance in combating digital violence. Prevention strategies and punitive measures must be reinforced to ensure a safe virtual environment for all users. The 2nd University Forum serves as a platform to facilitate discussions and seek solutions that will effectively address this growing problem.
Empowering Media Literacy and Digital Literacy
Carola García Calderón, director of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, recognizes the constant challenge of using information and communication technologies responsibly and securely. Emphasizing the importance of media literacy, educational institutions must design teaching-learning processes that prioritize media education. By imparting the skills to identify and address digital violence, users can learn to avoid and report harmful incidents, fostering a safer online environment.
Promoting a Culture of Respect and Responsibility
César Domínguez Pérez-Tejada, Director General for the Dissemination of Science, calls for greater emphasis on fostering a culture of respect and responsibility on social media platforms. While these platforms must guarantee user safety, it is society's duty to educate and promote a respectful online environment. Establishing effective public policies and rules of coexistence is crucial to building a digital culture that values the well-being and dignity of all individuals.
Recognizing the Reality of Digital Violence
Marcela Hernández Oropa, Project Coordinator of the Frente Nacional para la Sororidad, highlights the challenges in making digital violence visible and its deep connection to other forms of violence. Digital violence is a real and impactful phenomenon, where anonymity, false identities, and viral content make it difficult to eradicate harmful actions. To address this issue comprehensively, societies must adapt to regulate digital spaces responsibly while protecting the rights and safety of all users.
The 2nd University Forum against #Digital_Violence serves as a vital initiative to combat the rising tide of digital violence affecting individuals, especially women and vulnerable groups. It underscores the imperative for universities and institutions to play an active role in prevention, media literacy, and the creation of a culture that upholds respect and safety online. Only by working collectively and purposefully can we build a digital world that truly democratizes education while fostering an environment free from digital violence.