Laura Zapata, national leader and cyberconscious young

What would you do if you are a victim of cyberbullying? Laura Zapata Ortiz lived this experience and decided to help those who face a similar situation. Today she is one of our cyber-conscious young people, National Leader of the School of Influencers. This is his story:

At the age of 16, I was victim of cyberbullying by an acquaintance on social networks. This, left me distressed becausa I did not know how to handle the situation causing problems in my daily life. At the time, I knew that I would not be the first person and that I would probably not be the last to whom it happened, but I was so anxious and I decided to close my networks and ignore the problem.

Some time later, I reflected and took the decision to do something with that painful experience that I had had: I wanted to help those who were facing a similar situation. I did not know the School of Influencers, but at that time the social manager of the project in Pereira, spoke with an acquaintance who soon put us in contact. When she told me what it was about, it caught my interest and I wanted to be part of the School.

Through the educational and informative workshops in which I participated, I understood everything that I had experienced and how I could face those problems using various technological tools. At the end of my training, I decided to share it with people in my community to fulfill my goal of helping those like me who had been victims of malicious people who surf the web.

I am currently a National Leader of the School of Influencers and what I like the most is that I can share the information I receive with others. I had the opportunity to make a reply at the educational institution to which I belong. This seemed really appropriate because a large part of the population of my educational community is young, and they spend a lot of time browsing the internet exposing themselves to situations that can cause mishaps. By sharing this information with them, I was able to give them strategies so that they know how to deal with these problems.

School of influencers helped me develop life skills, including mediation, and I discovered tools that help me to help others in the cyber world. For example, I learned about the processes and the pages to go to to deal with cases of harassment and intimidation through social networks. It helped me to know how to deal with these situations and also to know how to avoid them.

These guidelines were very optimal for me because now I know different ways to deal with problems such as ciberbullying. I feel more confident.

My recommendation for young people is to be careful when navigating in various cybernetic spaces. It is true that technology and the internet have allowed us to maintain greater contact with a large number of people even at a distance, but it is also true that is a place where malicious people can generate conflictive and risky situations. For this reason, it is really important that we know the dangers to which we are exposed and the ways to handle these adversities and in case that it happens to us, it does not take us by surprise and take away our peace of mind.

Finally, one of the phrases that I hear the most around me is “there is everything in the vineyard of the Lord” and I think that is something quite true. The world is inhabited by large numbers of people, all different, and some not so good. We are exposed not only to face-to-face risks, but also to those that we can find in virtuality, since technology has become a fundamental part of our lives. That is why it is important that we know how to deal with the mishaps that may arise and avoid taking risks. However, this is not a reason to shy away from exploring the internet, because there we can find extremely beneficial information also.

School of Influencers is an initiative of UNICEF and Tigo Colombia, implemented by MAKAIA.
Get to know the project here.

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