Fareedah Shaheed is an online safety educator who teaches parents how to cultivate healthy digital relationships with their kids

As a teenager, Fareedah Shaheed often found herself in online chatrooms as the only Black, Muslim woman. Recognizing the lack of representation in these digital communities, she founded Sekuva to help parents & kids establish a safety-first mindset online

Video Transcript


FAREEDAH SHAHEED: Cyber security is for everyone. Most of the time, we think it's rocket science. But when we lock our doors every day when we go into the house, that is security. We're doing the same thing when we're online. And we want to do the same thing with our kids.

3, 2, 1 action. Hey, my name is Fareedah Shaheed. I'm an online safety educator. Today I'm going to tell you the number-one tip to protecting your kids on online gaming or honestly any other platform. So the first thing you want to remember is TIPS-- pretty easy-- Trust, Integrity, Privacy, Security, and Safety.

I am the founder and CEO of Sekuva. We teach parents how to protect their kids online through videos, tips, modules, and discussions. "Sekuva" actually means a well of security knowledge that you can keep coming back to. And I love the well, because it's water, and everything that I do is flow and feminine energy. I just love that. And that is basically the foundation of my business, is something that people can keep coming back to for nourishment and a safe space.

The Safe Kids Movement is an all-in-one resource center for parents to build closer relationships with their kids, cultivate a better environment, a safe environment for the kids, and learn online safety and security. The biggest thing I believe is connections over controls. So while parental controls and parental monitoring may have a place, you don't want that to be the focus. The focus should be building a connection.

So an example of building a connection is playing a game with your kids. Or if your kid really loves a social media account, then following it and connecting with them on it-- that builds trust and integrity. So you're harmonizing between the joy and freedom that they want and the safety and security that they need.

Kids on average are spending six hours a day on their phone. And not only are they talking to their friends and family, but they're talking to strangers. The biggest threat besides predators and hackers for kids online honestly is mental health.

So often, a lot of kids look at other people's Instagram accounts or TikTok, and they feel like they have a better life, and they're more pretty or more successful. And so it really does impact the way kids see themselves and their life and career. And that's one of the biggest threats.


I was born in Maryland. And I lived here since I was eight years old. And then from eight, I actually moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. I gained a deep love for psychology, human behavior, culture, language from that. And then I was introduced to tech because my father worked in tech and security.

In education, my first introduction to that was my mother. She was a teacher. So I basically combined my love of education and tech into what I do now. I actually didn't grow up with a lot of media. I didn't listen to music. I did not watch TV. I didn't watch movies. I was basically a bookworm.

But I always really loved gaming. As I started getting older, I started getting into voice chatting. And so I would be in a room, a voice chat with like 30 or 50 other guys, and I was the only woman there. It matured me really quickly. And I also realized that a lot of people had different reactions to me being a Black female or being even a Muslim female.

Because I'm so free with myself, I'm very open, I will talk about anything under the sun. Relationships-- I would talk about Sex I would talk about the books I was reading, psychology, human behavior. And so when I would enter those rooms, and we'd be chatting late into the night, they would say something about a Muslim woman. You know, they're oppressed, or they felt bad that we had to wear a scarf.

I would be there to have some education as another person in the room. And it would really shock them. So today, I use the same exact thing when I'm talking to parents. I tell them about my own experiences and why their kids still are in those spaces, even if they've had negative experiences. We all love human connection. We all love to feel wanted, to belong.


As a little girl, I saw people who looked like me, but I didn't see myself in many different spaces, especially in security. I just never saw myself. I never saw a representation of me. It means so much. Representation means so much. But it's so hard to put into words what it means because it's a feeling that you get. I am enough. And I can be anything, and I can do anything.

When you're told as a little girl that, because you're Black, you can't do something, you're ugly, or you're not enough, that really cuts deep into you. And so as a kid, when you're looking at a screen, when you're scrolling through social media, when you're looking through Instagram, and you see someone that looks like you doing it, that affects you so deeply. I hope that there is a little Black girl watching this video, and she sees and hears that she can do it, too.