Sexual predators using social media to lure teenage girls

 Social media has turned into a hunting ground for sexual predators as they can prey on unsuspecting minors and women under the garb of virtual anonymity.

Published: 31st August 2019 04:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2019 09:29 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustration: Amit Bandre)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  Social media has turned into a hunting ground for sexual predators as they can prey on unsuspecting minors and women under the garb of virtual anonymity. These sexual predators are on the prowl using social networking websites to widen their reach and sexually exploit teenage girls. On the other hand, without having the knowledge of entrapment, the adolescent girls are befriending these men they come across online, without knowing the imminent threat.

Telangana on Thursday woke up to the horror of a 15-year-old girl brutally killed by a man she befriended on Facebook. The victim had met the accused, Naveen Reddy who was at least 12 years older to her, a couple of months ago via a popular social media website.  Taking advantage of the girl’s naivety, Reddy took the girl to an isolated place in Jadcherla and tried to rape her. However, as the girl resisted his attempt, he smashed her head with a boulder.

READ | Telangana teen girl raped, murdered by 28-year-old man she met via Facebook

The incident created a furore in the State. Interestingly, in this incident, police revealed that the victim was using the pseudonym ‘Anvika Anvi’ to avoid her parents and relatives monitoring her online activity. 
 Experts note that when such crimes happen, the  young girls should not be blamed for the same.         

‘Lack of awareness on cyber safety taking a toll’

They said lack of a warm and affectionate atmosphere around them might push some of them to find out virtual friends or partners.A psychologist attributed such behaviour to their age, where they are explorative about anything and everything around them and want to try out those things that they are often told not to indulge in.

Speaking to Express, Suma Lavanya M, a researcher in psychology said, “Young adolescents tend to believe that they are shielded from any risk and that they are ‘invulnerable’ or immune to any impending harm and hence can do anything.”  She added that lack of awareness about cyber safety and the repercussions of their actions, children end up making impulsive decisions.

Narrating instances of cyber grooming, a senior police officer said that there two categories of people, one who would lay trap and other accidentally meet girls online. When the girls overreact to the words or gestures of the conman, the latter takes advantage.He added that media should take up the initiative to educate youngsters by running awareness campaigns.    

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