Don't lament, update yourself: Sanjay Kumar Gurudin

Excerpts from an interview with K. Sanjay Kumar Gurudin, the author of Is Your Child Safe?

Kohzikode: How to negotiate the information superhighway is a task one should be adept at these days, especially the children. And here is a helpful guide from a man whose job is to implement the law of the land on the highway. Excerpts from an interview with K. Sanjay Kumar Gurudin, the author of Is Your Child Safe?

How did you conceive this book?
I wrote this book not only as a cop but also as a parent. The high number of cases reported across the state and those I hit up on during my stint as district police chief at Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur led me to compile them and bring out a booklet on cyber crimes to create awareness for parents as well as teachers. I later perused many documents and reports of UNICEF to know what is happening in other countries as well.

After realising the gravity of the threats looming large, I decided to bring the attention of the government as well as the people, and thus ‘Is Your Child Safe?’ was conceived.

What was the target?
My main intention was not to merely bring out the threats and dangers, but to sensitise the public on the issue they are facing. Many of them come across such incidents, reports and pieces of information, but not many think that such things can happen to their children…it can happen in their homes.

Most of the parents complain about their lack of expertise in dealing the cyber world due to lack of knowledge about the technology. But it is like getting away from the responsibility under the pretext of ignorance. See, you need not be a doctor or pediatrician to keep your child healthy. There are many things one can do even otherwise. If your child remains too much in room, keeping the phone under the pillows, always tries to keep away from public, we should understand those warning symptoms and act accordingly. We need not master technology to do it.

What do you think the real danger is?
By the time you diagnose the problem, the damage might have been done. Nowadays children start using smart phones and other gadgets at the age of 6 or 7 and you think that it is harmless. When they grew up to 12 and 13 years, there would be so much that you could not even monitor. By that time they should have ideally imbibed a culture on how to use internet and behave in social media. When he is a young lad of 16 or 17 you will start lamenting: my children are not at all listening, they are out of my hand, out of control. Remember, it is of no use.

And the solution?
One of them is that the parents groom their children for the cyber world from the childhood. We cannot deny them the internet or the social media but we can have a balance of them all. We should make them aware of the dangers, the safety features and the legal consequences. The parents must ensure that the child is cyber-resilient.

What can the parents do?
I would suggest a five-point plan. The parents should update themselves. They must ensure that the children update themselves on the dangers associated. The parents must be able to understand the warning signals, especially behavioural deviations of the children. It is important to be aware of the legal framework and maintain a positive communication with the children. And finally, the parents must help the children encounter the problem rather end up as victims undergoing all suffering and exploitation.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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