KOCHI: Amid the raging debate over the ‘Blue Whale Challenge’, an online game which goads gullible teens into killing themselves, a young IPS officer in the state has penned a ready reckoner, just what the desperate parents ordered. ‘Is Your Child Safe?’, a guide on digital parenting to shield their kids from the latent hazards of cyberspace.Author K Sanjay Kumar Gurudin, a commandant of Kerala Armed Police in Kannur, is a familiar face among residents of the capital city as he had served as the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Law and Order. In fact, he started brainstorming for the book during his stint as the DCP here in 2015.
His 265-page book delves into the hidden dangers in the online spectra threatening to rend families.
The book stresses on the need for ‘digital parenting’ as this neo-branch of parenting has become an indispensable part in this cyber-driven world. Gurudin has a message to parents who often shy away from warming up to latest technologies and smartphones. “You need to brush up your tech skills if you want to ensure the safety of your tech-savvy children online.
This is something I realised during my years with the police force. The present generation often lacks the worldly wisdom to deal with potential hazards in the cyberspace, and that’s where the parents should step in.” “ Don’t you give health tips to your kids. Do you do that because you are a doctor?No. Then why the indifference to digital parenting.” he asks. The book contains 10 chapters replete with case studies of real life incidents he had dealt with first-hand and awareness on online threats, including cyber extremism, online grooming and cyber-bullying. One of the chapters is a primer on steps to be taken by parents to manage online content accessible to their kids.
The book also clearly spells out recent statistics pertaining to children who fell prey to cyber-threats. “ Studies claim 21 per cent of Indian adolescents commit suicide because of online abuse. And our country ranks third in the world when it comes to cyber-bullying,” he states in chapter one.
The book, which is available online in both English and Malayalam, meticulously lists out remedial measures for parents with pointers and quotes from renowned psychiatrists and other experts. The tips include deleting dormant and ‘ghost’ accounts, turning off unnecessary notifications, preparing a user plan etc. The book is also a ready-reckoner when it comes to cyberlaws. It gives details about laws such as the Information Technology Act, Indian penal Code- 1980, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act- 2012.