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

Sometime later, I reflected and took the decision to do something with that painful experience that I had: I wanted to help those who were facing a similar situation. I did not know the initiative “Escuela de Influenciadores" (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 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, who 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 and I also had the opportunity to give a talk at the school I go to. This seemed really appropriate because a large part of young people in my school 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 is a program that has helped me develop life skills, including mediation, and I have discovered tools that allows me helping others in the cyber world. For example, I learned about the processes and available platforms to deal with cases of harassment and intimidation through social networks. These guidelines were very optimal for me because now I know different ways to deal with problems such as cyberbullying and personally I feel more confident.

My recommendation for young people is to be careful when navigating in various cyber 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, the ways to handle these adversities and in case that it happens to us, we will know how to react.

Finally, one of the phrases that I hear the most around me is: "Anything can happen in this world” and I think that is something quite true. The world is inhabited by a large number of people, all different, and some not so good. We are exposed not only to face-to-face risks, but since technology has become a fundamental part of our lives, we are also exposed to those that we can find in the digital world. That is the reason, why it is important to 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, we just need to have the right tools to do so.

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