With over 100 million children in India said to be on their way to accessing the internet by 2017, you’d think that that would be a positive step towards digitising the country and more. But with the ever increasing availability of the Internet, there are a number of downsides to it, especially when it comes to children.
From reduced outdoor and interpersonal activity to darker issues like cyberbullying, parents in Hyderabad can’t help but have mixed feelings about having their child exposed to the Internet in all its glory.
Kavita Golechha, director and founder of Panache says that she does worry about her children — one of whom is 17 — using the internet privately. “Yes, their safety is always on the back of the mind, but speaking about things has helped over the years,” she says.
“The kind of exposure the kids get through this is something you can’t control. You can try to bar and filter some content but the sudden fervour for and access to the Internet is not a great idea. I’m not a big fan,” agrees Harini Ganti, founder of Cisne For Arts.
Cyberbullying is a problem that’s rarely addressed today in the city, or even the country for that matter, and U. Ramamohan, SP – Cyber Crime, CID, says that the laws in our country don’t help the problem.
He explains, “Cyberbullying, per se, is not a cyber crime now, thanks to the abolishing of the Section 66A of the IT Act. The other laws can be implemented, but they’re very simple and may not even lead to a proper investigation being done and won’t be able to identify the person. If I create a fictitious profile or id and start bullying everybody, who can the complaint be put against?”
But talking about the issues with your kids can help, he says, and one day even sensitise them to know when to engage with people online and when not to. Harini adds, “Fortunately we haven’t face it yet, but that’s a huge scare. But we do keep talking about it and educating them about how to stay off it and all, and that really helps.”...