With increasing access to the internet and social media networks, children are easily lured into a world of titillation and voyeurism that eventually leads to tendencies of physical abuse, say mental health and cyber crime experts. Children also become victims of child abusers who are on the prowl in chat rooms and connecting networks like Facebook and Orkut to lure unsuspecting chatters.
Internet café operators also admit that the porn sites continue to be the most accessed pages by adolescents. A net café operator who has been in the business for eight years says that school students of both sexes aged below 15 years regularly log on these websites. As enforcing regulations in cyber space is a tough task, more parental monitoring are required to ensure that juveniles do not misuse the internet, says M Sudhakar, Superintendent of Police Coimbatore Rural, who was earlier with the cyber crime wing in Chennai.
According to Dr K Radhakrishnan, a mental health expert, adolescents now are driven by immediate gratification of desires for which they access all available resources. As the present condition offers everything to fulfil their needs. When everything is available to be accessed, they develop the curiosity to go for it.
Respect among children towards socially acceptable norms has decreased due to various socio-cultural aspects. Moral education, which was part of curriculum once, has also disappeared.
Experts also blame the vanishing parental care system of the olden days for spurring a trend where juveniles turn sex offenders. The explosive growth of nuclear families has also contributed to the erosion of moral values among children.
“Teenagers lack the grandparental care which earlier used to fill the gap of parental affection. While grandparents were the real moulders of children in the joint family set-up, they are a disappearing species nowadays. As parents mostly run after their professions to provide for the children, they forget to care for their non-material needs,” says Dr D Srinivasan, another psychiatrist.