Maru: Chatbot that helps tackle online harassment

Have you experienced or witnessed online harassment? Do you want to learn more about online abuse and how to protect yourself as well as support girls and young women who face it EVERY SINGLE DAY? Maru the chatbot is here for you!

Internet access has been beneficial for kids, but at the same time, implies numerous risks.

More than half of the 14,000 girls and young women surveyed, from around the world, have been harassed and abused online.

A survey by Plan International also found that one in four girls abused online feels physically unsafe as a result and online abuse is silencing girls’ voices.

Girls are targeted online just because they are young and female, and if they are politically outspoken, disabled, Black or identify as LGBTIQ+, it gets worse. Like street harassment it is unremitting, often psychologically damaging and can lead to actual physical harm.

Vietnam now has about 64 million Internet users, accounting for 66% of its population, among the highest rates of Internet penetration in the world. Of the figure, one third are at the age of 15 to 24.

Online abuse causes real harm, but it’s not always easy to reach out and find support.

You may find it hard to make the problem public, not knowing if people would send their support and encouragement, or chime in, and blame you for doing nothing wrong. You may find it hard talking to the people you trust the most, not knowing if they would be understanding the issue or they would tell you to simply accept the risk of being online.

That’s why Maru is here to help.

As part of the global Be Safe Online campaign, Plan International and Feminist Internet worked together with young activists from Benin, Cameroon, Germany, Ghana, UK, Nepal and South Africa to co-create the Maru chatbot in support of young people facing online harassment worldwide.

Maru the chatbot was created using feminist design principles, by young activists who all care about promoting internet freedom and safety. Maru provides information and resources gathered from global anti-harassment organizations and activists. Any conversation with Maru is strictly confidential, and Maru does not collect any personal data about you.

Need someone to talk to? Chat with Maru now: <https://maruchatbot.co/>

Mai Nguyen