This is a training of trainers tool. The aim is to train professionals working with vulnerable groups (in this case: elderly people, people with disabilities and migrants) in digital rights, especially in those aspects of digital rights that according to our previous analysis most affect the vulnerable groups we are dealing with.
The aim is not only for professionals to be able to train members of these vulnerable groups in the subject. These professionals are in close contact with these groups and, depending on the case, with their families.
Although we do not usually think about it, professionals are often an indispensable anchor for vulnerable people, unconsciously acting as translators and protectors against the dangers of the world. It is therefore important that they are prepared to detect signs and behaviours that these people will have great difficulty in detecting, if it is possible for them to detect them at all.
The first thing to do is to go into the "Tailored handbooks" unit and create your handbook based on the parameters of your group. With this handbook you will have a complete picture of the digital rights problem, its current status, its relation to the vulnerable groups affected and the best prevention practices.
The best results will be achieved when the trainer internalises the contents of the handbook.
After reading the handbook (which we recommend doing in the order in which it is presented in the table of contents) we can quickly and precisely turn to certain topics in the "First Aid Kit", divided into Frequently Asked Questions, Cyberbullying, Scams, Misinformation, Digital Footprint and Teaching Tips.
The following are key points to consider in a training session and examples of exercises that can be carried out with each group, as well as useful "learning tips" for trainers.
Diversity of vulnerable people
The vulnerable groups we are dealing with are characterised by their diversity:
- In the case of people with disabilities, diversity is obvious, especially in people with intellectual disabilities who are the most vulnerable in the digital environment. Each case is a unique one.
- In the case of older people, their responses, willingness and ease both to acquire new knowledge and to participate in training activities depend on a multitude of factors: work experience, residential environment, type of socialisation, motor and cognitive impairment, etc.
- Similarly, in the case of immigrants, their response will depend on their language proficiency, country of origin, socio-economic context, degree of integration, etc.
Atomisation in the digital experience
Although the Internet is used to interact with other people (or institutions), the experience is individual and therefore different for each person.
Difficulties in verbalising the problem
Many people, but especially those belonging to vulnerable groups, who have been assaulted in the digital world (harassment, scams, deception...) keep it secret out of shame. In other cases, they were not even aware that they were being assaulted.
Adaptation to conditioning factors
The starting conditions and the peculiarities of the subject to be dealt with demand an open and participatory methodology that evolves taking into account the participants' responses and turns the teaching into a collective conversation.
Therefore, active interaction between the trainer and the participants should be promoted, always seeking to encourage them to share their experiences, doubts and fears and participate actively. A traditional one-way lecture should be avoided.
This will make it easier for the trainer to use the testimonies of the participants to direct the activity.
In each activity, session or class:
Clarify the learning objective.
- Explain the topic in simple language adapted to the audience.
- The trainer can start by telling an experience of his or her own to encourage participants to speak.
- All participants stand in a circle and may circulate a ball of wool so that everyone can participate.
- Conduct creative exercises in which participants have to use their own experiences to create a story or a case.
Analyse your audience based on their testimonies to adapt the content.
- In these groups it is necessary to adapt the training to the individual's experience in order to arouse their interest. It makes no sense to talk about Twitter if the attendee only uses Tik Tok.
- We have to know the peculiarities of everyone in order to adapt the conversation.
Stories with opening, middle and end
- Tell a story that is connected to the content or raise a question/problem to be solved during the session.
- Collectively construct a story connected to the content.
- Participants debate, guided by the trainer who asks them questions.
- Participants act out a story connected to the content.
Closing the session
- Focus on three or four key ideas that capture the main learnings to be taken away.
- Highlight and highlight important aspects that emerged during the session.
Key ideas by topic
In online bullying, a simple like makes you an accomplice. Not reporting, not doing anything, also makes you an accomplice. Bullies feed off their accomplices as much as they feed off the suffering of their victims.
Never respond to an online harasser (not even to defend the victim). The only three useful actions are:
- Block the stalker's user
- Report the harasser
- Support the victim
Grooming is a long-term deception aimed at sexually abusing the victim.
- Minors and people with disabilities are the most common victims.
- Groomers are professional manipulators and specialists in going unnoticed.
- It is important to be aware of the existence of "online friends" who are not physically known.
Victims are so ashamed that they do not tell anyone what they are suffering. This is why it is necessary for everyone (family, teachers and peers) to be aware of the symptoms.
Cyberbullying has worse consequences for the victim even than bullying in the physical world. Many victims end up committing suicide.
On the Internet (for the time being) you can never be sure that someone writing to you (by whatever means) is who they say they are.
Be wary if a provider (bank, electricity, pay TV, post office...) contacts you by electronic means inviting you to click on a link.
Be wary if a supplier (bank, electricity, pay TV, post office...) writes to you announcing a serious problem for which they need you to respond with a series of personal details and secret codes. Your provider will never ask you for this information digitally.
Be wary even of a communication sent by a relative or friend who has a problem and needs money.
Be wary of draws you didn't know you were participating in, offers that are too good, or gifts that are too generous.
In an employment contract or a prize, you should never have to pay in advance.
In any of these cases, if in doubt, phone the supplier, go to their office in person or ask someone you trust for help.
If you receive information via social media or messaging without an author or link to a newspaper, it is almost certainly fake news.
Important or controversial topics (public health, politics, geopolitics) are constantly the subject of disinformation.
If you read news on social media, make sure it comes from a legitimate source.
Be wary of anonymous online newspapers that do not allow correction or that do not publish their details at the bottom (address, tax identification number, name of the editor, etc.).
Do not forward chain messages. You may be contributing to the problem of disinformation.
Avoiding disinformation is everyone's job.
Data protection and digital footprint
- On the Internet, if you really want to preserve your privacy, don't write anything you wouldn't put on a postcard.
- The content and images we post, as well as what we say to strangers, can be used maliciously against us.
- Thanks to what we publish on the Internet, a third person can find out where we live, where we work, whether we are at home or not, whether we live alone, which party we vote for, where we shop...
- On the Internet, we provide data voluntarily, when we complete a questionnaire to open an account or make a purchase; but we also provide data involuntarily, through our online activity.
- The big technology platforms (Google, Facebook, Instagram...) record and analyse our online behaviour through algorithms and Big Data techniques: they know what our tastes, hobbies, friends, ideological tendencies and purchasing patterns are.
- The big platforms use all this information to create user profiles and sell personalised advertising services to other companies. They also use it to suggest content and contacts.
- If you ever suspected that Google is spying on you... yes, you were right, Google is spying on you.
- The results that the platforms offer us are not random. Their intention is to manipulate us to keep us attached to the screen.
Examples of questions to guide the conversation
First tell a story about a case of cyberbullying, grooming, online scams...
Then you can ask questions, trying to get everyone present to participate and give their opinion.
Try not to judge anyone's answers. The aim is to learn new things, not to show who is right.
- Do you know people who have gone through similar situations?
- What actions led to that situation, what motivated them to do what they did (send that photo, make that comment, click on that link...)?
- What did that person do right and what did they do wrong, and what about the other people involved in the story (if any)?
- Could it happen to any of us?
- How could they have acted in each case to solve the problem?
- Who could they have asked for help?
Examples of dynamics and activities
Distinguishing between public and private
Take examples of messages posted on social media that give information about ourselves and write them in giant letters on a large poster. Then discuss with the participants how they would like to hang this poster, with a big picture of the protagonist on the main avenue of the city, covering a whole building.
Distinguishing between online and offline and online relationships with strangers
The monitor creates one or more "fake" accounts and starts a conversation with one or more users from another room.
The conversations are followed in public (all attendees) but only the owner of the account decides what to answer.
Afterwards, the conversation with the stranger and its possible consequences (the stranger turns out to be a harasser or an aggressor) are discussed among everyone.
Make a live performance of the same conversation (as if it were a theatrical performance) and compare the two situations.
Prevention of grooming
The facilitator/teacher will gather a group to talk about online friendships. The facilitator will start by telling the group about the friends he/she has on social networks, how he/she met them, what they talk about or what content they exchange.
This is a long-term dynamic, the aim of which is to normalise the sharing of conversations that take place online.
The best recipe is to gain the trust of these people so that they will share their online relationships with us.
Preventing online scams (1)
Phishing is the most common online scam, especially for older people.
If you search for "phishing examples" on the Internet, you will find numerous images of e-mails or texts to practise with.
Example of an e-mail or text message from a bank:
All accounts must be updated by 14-11-2022 with the help of the new security system by telephone. Your account has not been updated and we have been forced to temporarily suspend your account. To update your account and have a better banking security, please click on the following link: www.citibankbank.info Thank you for your time!
Preventing online scams (2)
Visiting different (legitimate) pages with the participants, in a leisurely manner and analysing the different parts: what the URL looks like, what the footer looks like and what it includes, etc.
Make up a chain message with a fake (but could be true) news story and send it to participants just before the session starts. The news item should be scandalous or controversial.
Conduct a discussion about the news item
Reflect on why we should be suspicious of it.
Suggest ways to verify its veracity
Discuss the parts of a legitimate newspaper.
- Draw lots among the participants for different online newspapers
- Find the name of the editor, publisher, postal address and tax information.
- Find extra information about the medium: who owns it, has it ever been sued for libel, has it been involved in any scandal, is it pro- or anti-government, etc.
Analyse individual news items:
- Check that the date is correct
- Who is the author? is it a journalist or guest writer? is it an opinion piece or a news item?
- Are there unsupported assertions?
- Are sources cited?
- Are the sources concrete or vague?
- Is the headline outrageous but the content is not?
- Does the story suggest something for which there is no evidence?
Whatever the type of training or session, the most important thing is to be flexible, patient and teach one thing at a time.
It is more productive if the training is done by a person you trust or at least, if it is ongoing, by the same person.
If the person does not have a personal computer or has one but does not use it, it is much better to do the training with touch screens (smartphones or tablets), which are more intuitive and easier for them to learn, and also cheaper and easier to obtain.
Elderly people learn by repetition. They follow and memorise the order (like a recipe). They do not navigate intuitively like the younger ones, they do not know, for example, that a cross at the top is used to close that screen or image.
It is very useful to write down the steps to follow for a certain objective, as well as warnings or things not to forget.
It also helps to use infographics or drawings on a support that they may have nearby.
It is useful to be explicit even in what is obvious.
When it comes to learning a safe process, it is necessary to repeat the process several times with supervision.
To get their attention and above all their active participation, focus on practical topics that are of interest to them. For example:
- Music, literature or family photos can be used as an excuse for them to open up to us.
If they have mobility problems and want to do their shopping online...
- Do not force, they can also do it by phone.
- They will find it difficult to do it on their own, it is necessary to go through the whole process with them several times.
- A difficult point will always be the online payment, as they will be wary of putting a debit or credit card online. If there is the option to buy online and pay in cash or by dataphone at home, this will reassure them.
When dealing with the bank, or a utility company:
- If they receive an electronic communication, they should make sure it is legitimate.
- The elderly tend to be distrustful of technology; we should not force them not to be if they are not prepared.
It is always important to respect the right of the elderly not to go online or not to carry out certain procedures online if they do not wish to do so. The law protects them.
The particular situation of immigrants with regard to the Internet:
- This is the theory. In practice, migrants use the Internet extensively, especially via mobile phones, but this is usually for keeping in touch with family and friends and keeping up with the agenda of their places of origin. At most, it is to establish contact with immigrant communities in the host country.
- The result of the above is that what seems like a good starting point, an intensive use of the Internet, becomes a cause of isolation and lack of integration.
- It is this isolation, their lack of language proficiency and lack of cultural context that makes them more vulnerable.
The first obstacle to overcome is the level of proficiency in the language of the host country.
- The optimal situation is for the trainer accompanying them to speak the language of origin of the people involved.
The second obstacle is the lack of cultural context. An immigrant will have great difficulty in distinguishing a fake website from a legitimate one because he or she cannot know what legitimate websites look like in the host country. The same will be true for fake job offers, fake housing offers, etc.
- Learning by repetition: Visiting different (legitimate) websites, analysing logos, headers, information about the website, etc.
- Make a list of legitmate sites for different purposes: jobs, housing, public help...
As for the relationship with the administration, the best is personalised accompaniment in a real process. If these procedures are complicated for those born in the country, they will be even more so for someone who does not speak the language, has never interacted online with the administration and has never connected via computer.
Again, establishing trust is essential. This is the only way to get vulnerable people to tell us about their experiences so that we can detect their shortcomings and correct them.
For example, if a migrant tells us that in the immigration queue someone has offered to speed up the process in exchange for money, we can warn them that it is most likely a scam.
If a migrant tells us that they have bought Nike shoes online for a ridiculous price, it is also likely to be a scam.
As with the elderly, personalisation, flexibility and time spent in each case are essential.
It is essential to involve and, if possible, share the process with the families.
The pedagogical proposal must be adapted to the level of development and age of the people with disabilities.
It is essential that they open up and share their experiences.
Use as much as possible real experiences of the participants as a basis.
People with cognitive disabilities often have problems with attention span, which prevents them from retaining information, so it is necessary:
Start with very short sessions and gradually increase the session time.
Give the training/learning sessions a playful character.
Contextualise the contents on the basis of their interests: Use in each case subjects, people or references with which the person has a previous affectionate relationship.
- For example, use football players, characters from a cartoon series or family members as subjects of the story to be told or the situation to be recreated.
It is important to always use
- Clear language
- Do not overload with information