HYDERABAD: Cyber grooming is fast becoming one of the major cyber threats faced by children and teenagers, according to a handbook published by the Union Home Ministry. Cyber grooming, according to ‘A handbook for adolescents/students on cyber safety’, is a practice where someone builds an emotional bond with children through social media or messaging platforms with an objective of gaining their trust to sexually abuse or exploit them.
The 38-page handbook for children above 13 years of age, throws light on different types of cyber threats and also lists some key safeguards that may help children protect themselves against such crimes.
The book is designed with attractive cartoons, colourful illustrations and graphics to make it interesting for the children. According to the book, the cyber criminals first ‘groom’ the children with various offerings like gifts and modelling job to just mention a few and later they will start sending obscene content.
“The online groomers mostly target teenagers as they face immense biological, personal and social changes. This cyber grooming leaves a deep impact on a child’s physical, emotional as well as psychological well-being. The devastating effects of online grooming can sometimes be long-term and can even haunt the victim in their adulthood,” the book says.
The book also mentions cyberbullying is one of the most common cyber threats being faced by children and young people. Though Cyber bullying can impact anyone, yet due to limited understanding about cyber threats, children become easy victims. A cyber bully can be a known person, friend, relative or even an ‘known person’ whom children meet online on social media platform or a chat room or a gaming portal.
Children being in experimental age group are highly vulnerable. Though it is the age where they experiment a lot, learn new things and use new technologies, it is equally important that proper guidance is provided to children so that they can protect themselves from such crimes, the book says.