Online Safety for Adolescent Girls – Training for professional and educational staff

The Adolescent Girls and Their Bodies program was developed by Women and Their Bodies with the support of the National Insurance Institute Fund for Development of Services for Children and Youth at Risk, and the Israel Internet Association. The program addresses a variety of topics related to the body, health, and healthy sexuality of girls with an emphasis on internet dangers and safety. The program offers workshops across the country for groups of young women and girls, education and health professionals, and parents. The content of the workshops is adapted to religion, culture, age and language (Hebrew, Arabic, Russian).

Program content: Workshop series for education and health professionals

The series for education/health professionals deals with the virtual online world and the girls that (also) live in it. The series will put an emphasis on how the internet influences the health, body, and sexuality of the girls, on the positive aspects and its dangers, on identifying, dealing with, and treating as needed. The program trains professionals in conducting open and honest dialog with girls on topics that are silenced, helping to contribute to their online safety. The professional training will be conducted in groups of up to 15 participants, in three weekly sessions of two academic hours per session. Longer training days are also possible. The sessions are conducted by an experienced group facilitator from the WTB team, who has completed a full course of training (400 class hours) in group facilitation from one of the recognized academic institutions, and comprehensive training in the organization. We recommend conducting in parallel a series of 8-10 sessions for a group of young girls, adapted to the specific issues that concern them and address their online safety with an emphasis on their body, health and healthy sexuality.

Focal points of the series for professionals

We all spend many hours of the day online, in a world that is new and often threatening and obscure. Requests from the field indicate that many education and health professionals feel that there is a great need for discourse on these issues, but that they don’t have enough information, and there is a lack of confidence to tackle these topics. They don’t have in-depth knowledge and experience with the online world of girls, the content they are exposed to, the language, the ethical questions and the technological aspects. We view the open dialog with girls on these issues as an integral part of any education/health-related work and therefore offer this series as a gateway to this world.
Women and Their Bodies specializes in professional work with young girls. The guiding principle of our series for professionals is comprehensive work in two complementary aspects: the participants themselves as individuals, as women and/or mothers, and the professional aspect of their work. The topics discussed in the training are often at odds between these two aspects and there are gaps in aspirations, everyday behavior, and opinions. Therefore, professionals need to deepen their knowledge in a framework that enables sharing and a more in-depth approach to daily dilemmas.
The series for professionals is conducted before or in parallel to the series for girls and is structured according to the needs of the group.

The training includes content in the following areas:

Building an online identity, dangers and safety: The challenges of developing an identity during adolescence, in the complex years of development and physical and emotional changes. What is an internet identity, what does it comprise? Where do internet searches take the girls, what are the main apps they use, the main dangers, how does it influence them? What emotions does this issue raise? Prevention and identification of existing dangers, how to increase safety for girls, how to deal with and treat damage. Sources of information, guidance and help for girls online.
Body image, healthy eating habits and preventing eating disorders: Young girls are in increased danger of eating disorders and self-harm, stemming from a tendency to “acting in” behavior. The internet plays an important part in the issue of body image. Social media, dangerous forums and their influence on eating and developing eating disorders. Red flags and what to pay attention to. Arenas that encourage eating disorders, through online comments and forums that recommend self-harm. How to build a positive body image in an age when online influence is so significant. What to pay attention to and how to convey these issues to young girls in their sensitive teenage years.
Healthy sexuality: Sexuality is a main issue in our lives, and it is especially significant during adolescence. Experience shows that contrary to popular belief, young girls often lack answers to many questions that trouble them. They don’t have an adult that they trust, who they can share with and ask questions rather than rely on the vast amount of information online, which is often unreliable or even dangerous. How to talk with girls about these topics, in a manner that is age, religion, and culturally appropriate, red flags to pay attention to. How to open a channel of communication on this important and sensitive subject and help them to take care of themselves.

For more information and to book workshops:
Contact Mitti Weinbach, workshop coordinator: mitti.wein@gmail.com