Teenagers are the most impressionable and thus they are most vulnerable to cyber crime/internet abuse. No, this isn’t a Kapil Sibal style statement and I certainly don’t think that kids access internet to primarily watch porn!
The fact of the matter is that kids and teens are increasingly active online. For most, their world revolves around their phones and social media profiles. A survey conducted stated that teens spend 86% of their time online on social media and since they access these sites primarily on their phones, they are now demanding better services from mobile providers.
There have been many cases in the past when teens have fallen pray to cyber crimes. Only recently, there came to light the case of a 17-year old who alleges that she was sexually assaulted by two MNC employees who she had befriended a social networking site. While this was a case of misfortune that arose out of direct contact, the Narcotics Control Bureau says that social media sites are being used by traffickers to smuggle drugs. This means that if you’re active on social media then by virtue of your presence you are susceptible to cyber crime.
The thing that makes teens an easy group to target is that they are reckless and not-educated with regards to cyber laws. They don’t know what consequences their actions have. If they don’t know what they are doing is wrong, there is no way they will stop doing it. It therefore becomes imperative to educate teens and let them in on cyber laws. If they know that a certain kind of online behaviour is unacceptable and that it could lead to charges or even jail, they will stay clear of it.
Here are a few things teens can be warned/informed about:
- To not befriend strangers on social networking sites
- To not post personal information on these sites
- To spend time understanding privacy settings and to update these regularly
- To not share explicit photos/content online with anyone
- To educate them about cyber laws
- To educate them about their rights as netizens
Parents and teachers need to moderate laptops/desktops at home and school respectively and ensure that high-risk sites are blocked.
It is not that the internet is an evil medium that teens need to be made to stay away from. It just is that they need to be told to learn to differentiate between the good and the bad. Talking about the good, we have consistently reported how internet is becoming important for education. In fact, a report by Oxford suggests that lack of internet will in fact hamper the education of kids/teens. The rise of online universities and educational platforms is already changing the way education is imparted and thus this has a direct impact on every teens/kids life.
Therefore, just as the teens make the most of the good the internet world has to offer, they should be told that they will be held responsible if they engage in something “bad” as classified by laws. The only way to battle all the evil out there is through education and information. Wouldn’t you agree?
Image Courtesy | gizmodo