Young Sithara needs to use either her home computer or her parent’s mobile phone to research her projects or connect with her friends online. While surfing the web, she is exposed to stalkers, cyber trolls and even sexually-charged advertisements promoted through various channels. For a young child, this sensory overload could be a lot to make sense of and it is easy for many her age to be pulled into what can be classified as cyber crimes. It is on such occasions that a project by the Kerala police that aims to create awareness on preventing cybercrimes through animation movies, stickers and posters becomes relevant.
‘Professor Pointer — The Answer to Cyber Issues’ is part of the Kerala police’s cyber safety awareness programme. The mascot Professor Pointer, named so by ADGP Manoj Abraham, who is also the chief of the Kerala police Cyber Dome, artistically merges a computer mouse and its cursor pointer.
Professor Pointer has been created by artist Nandan Pillai, who was also the brain behind the popular ‘Pappu Zebra’, an earlier project that stressed on road safety. The increasing number of incidents of cyber crimes led him to it. “As much as young children need to be aware of the pitfalls of the cyber world, parents too need to be educated on the dangers their wards could be exposed to. That is how I decided to start working on a project on creating awareness on cyber crimes some years ago. The character Professor Pointer was created as a mascot later on. It was ADGP Manoj who informed me of the need for an awareness programme on cyber crimes to be presented in a manner that would appeal nationally, too, and I gave the final shape to what I was already doing.”
Professor Pointer, through its series of animation movies, stickers and posters, educates children as well as the parents on the do’s and don’ts of the cyber world, safety measures to be taken while online and the kind of software available to safeguard children.
Nandan adds, “Each animation video is only 20-30 seconds in duration, each giving a different message.” The project was launched by superstar Mammootty and has been shared on the Kerala police’s page on Facebook. Nandan plans to create many more awareness programmes on cyber crimes in the future because he feels it is the need of the hour.