Like and Dislike: The Women's Group Takes on Social Media

You might've clicked on this blog article from Facebook or Twitter, like many of our followers do. Several participants of The Women's Group take a break outside computer class with TYO Program Assistant, Inas Badawi.

But for many moms in The Women's Group, the seemingly simple world of social media can seem like a foreign planet- and can cause significant friction in their homes, and a lack of confidence when communicating with their children. Specifically, some women aren't aware of how to protect kids from potential harassment or online abuse- an issue many of our local partners have reported increasing in Nablus- and have questions about how sites like Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter could be both helpful, or harmful, to their families.

So as we kicked off summer session of The Women's Group this week, we started with intensive seminars on children's internet safety, led by our friends at the Nablus Police Department and Defense for Children International. Through these workshops, women gained an understanding of basic social media concepts, privacy settings, signs that a child might be facing abuse online, and tips for best protecting their children on the computer. Interactive PowerPoint demonstrations helped moms interface with various internet sites their children encounter.

Yet our speakers didn't just impart technical knowledge about the world wide web- instead, they supplemented their seminars with themes of increasing a woman's confidence, improving women's participation in the community, and empowering women to be more vocal in their communication at home. By heightening their knowledge of internet and online activities, moms can take a more active role in their families- and also in their communities, helping educate other women while also becoming more intentional in their parenting methods. During the seminars, women asked multiple questions about preventing sexual predators from contacting their children, encouraging open communication, and setting healthy habits for kids' time limits on the computer.

Sahira laughs with a "like" when discussing how Facebook privacy settings work.

This idea of internet safety is aligned with the interesting series of seminars we have scheduled for the rest of the session, which all stem from the themes of community, communication, identity and health. We'll be covering other types of child protection, such as preventing sexual abuse and promoting healthy sleep patterns for kids. Further, we're also continuing our focus on women's personal empowerment, talking about cancer screenings as well as taking action when faced with violence in the home.

Yet our knowledge-building isn't just limited to seminars: all women are also participating in fitness and nutrition classes, as well as IT courses. Through this non-formal education, women enjoy themselves through activities like ballet or beginning to learn about Google searches- while also gaining confidence in their improved health, exercise skills, and online abilities.

So just like moms who've learned how to "stay connected" in the ICT world this week, we encourage you to keep checking in on the blog this summer as we move forward with The Women's Group session, and all that is to come!