HYDERABAD: Parents are often concerned about their school-going children wasting their time on the internet. However, they may overlooking a much more malicious threat lurking online.
Expressing concern on the privacy of identity and safety of children using internet, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Stuti Kacker said that smart phones, home-based child monitoring applications and gadgets connected to internet are all vulnerable to hacking, as they can be used to collect pictures of children by sexual predators.
She was addressing the gathering at the conference on ‘Prevention of Online Child Sexual Abuse’, organised by the TS Crime Investigation Department (CID) here on Thursday.
Stuti said that the increase in the internet use by children has made led to a spike in cyber radicalisation and online child sexual abuse.
Due to use of internet-based home control systems, hackers/online predators are accessing gadgets like webcams, computers and compromising privacy. She added that the initiative by the NCPCR, (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) ‘POCSO e-box’ can counter sexual abuse. So far, 250 messages have been received through e-box, but mostly test messages.
“In the last year, as many as 3,000 complaints have been received at NCPCR, most of which were related to Right to Education, and others to Juvenile Justice and POCSO,” said Stuti.
She added that a smart phone, like a computer, can be used to access porn. “Children stalked by predators suffer mentally and live in fear. Online predators from USA, UK and elsewhere are preying on children elsewhere and we should not allow our children to become victims,” Stuti added.
Children sitting ducks:
CID IG Soumya Misra
CID Inspector General (IG) Soumya Misra said that internet has now pervaded every aspect of our daily life.
“Because of their immaturity and inexperience, children are vulnerable and easy target for sexual predators. Games, social media and chatrooms enable people to contact children. The predators can create false online identities and trick children into chatting and sharing sexual images over webcam.
Once they have an image or video they use it to blackmail the child and obtain more images. This starts a vicious circle of abuse,” she said.