HYDERABAD: At the receiving end of the alarming rise of cyber crimes in the city are schoolchildren with as many as 30% of them having complained of some form of cyber harassment.
In a recent interaction between a national cyber security expert and about 5,000 schoolchildren across city schools, it was observed that a massive chunk of students have been victims of cyber defamation, stalking or bullying.
Rakshit Tandon, the expert, attributed this high incidence rate to unsupervised access to internet and web-based gadgets that children have and ignorance of cyber laws and security aspects of these gadgets. Tandon said that with the excessive use of the internet among children, it is imperative to include a module on cyber hygiene in school curriculum to educate students on ‘netiquette’.
“Almost every school-going child has access to social media these days, but shockingly hardly any of them know about the privacy settings on their profiles. With details of their personal lives going public, they make themselves vulnerable to all sorts of cyber harassment,” Tandon said.
An international study done by software giant Microsoft in 2012 revealed that 53% of India’s children have been bullied online. AP recorded the second highest number of cases in cyber related crimes (429) in 2012.
Incidentally, perpetrators of cyber crime are also often youngsters. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, of the 1,522 persons arrested in 2012 for cyber crime related offences, 928 of them were college students while 65 of them were below the age of 18.
“On one hand, there is a chunk of children completely ignorant of security aspects of the internet, while on the other, schoolchildren have indulged in hacking, phishing and other such malicious online activities. It is very important that this ‘knowledge’ be harnessed productively for which awareness is a must,” said Tandon speaking at an event organized by the FILadies Organisation in the city on Tuesday.
Tandon stressed on the importance of monitoring role that teachers, parents and the community as a whole plays in regulating internet activity among children, even suggesting various tracker software available to keep a tab on web movement on phones, laptops etc.
“With the use of internet-based gadgets becoming so common among children, it is essential to keep a check on them. For this, it is important for parents be aware of their children’s activities, but also be tech-savvy,” said Monika Agarwal, mother of two teenage children who was present at the event.
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Courtesy : Times of India