Bhopal: ‘Parents should track kids’ net surfing habits’

About 50 cases of harassment of children online are reported every month and most are through Facebook accounts and circulation of mobile numbers of girls through Whatsapp and other sources. Cyber expert Akshay Bajpayi on the rising numbers of such cases said, “I myself have received over 10 cases in last two weeks where parents complained about fake Facebook accounts being created in their children’s name and then vulgar messages and posts being sent on them.” He also shared that parents and girls were very reluctant to complaint about such cases because of social stigmas and it was one of the reasons that many cases went unreported. In a case, a student of Asia Pacific School was harassed by her own classmate. She downloaded her pictures from Facebook account and created a fake account and texted her friends and even circulated her number. In a similar case a student of Campion School was troubled by his classmates through a fake account of his that they created. Such cases are predominant because children are not aware about how to keep their profiles safe from intruders and not share any kind of personal information on social media sites.

Parents can play a very important role in safeguarding teenagers against online crimes and keep a track of what they are doing online. Bajpayi shares ways for parents to save their children against online crimes and harassment.

What to do?

Parents should spend time with their children and discuss both good and bad things about internet. Making them aware about how to use computers in cafes and other places will save them from falling prey to such crimes.
Parents can use some filtering software on computers to block sites from which they want to save their child. Such filters are inbuilt in web browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator, etc. which can be turned on for blocking certain websites unsuited to children.
Parents should help their children in registering on quality websites which need registration and well moderated chat rooms. They should also gather information for themselves and teach their children about being safe from computer viruses, e-mails and fraudulent activities online.
Making your child aware about the e-mails, attachments and spam mails which can contain virus, offensive or even pornographic content as anyone can easily receive them. Parents should teach them how to turn on spam filters and be aware of unknown emails.
While shopping online, parents should always make sure they make the payments instead of children.
Make children aware about cyber bullying and never scold them in case they have fallen prey to any such crimes. Instead help them in getting out of the trouble and encourage them to be safe from such online crimes for future. Pedophiles use internet to harass children online and there is a good percentage of children who suffer sexual abuse by someone who they have met or they know in real life.