Threats for Kids

Threats for Kids.

1. Cyberbullying
A study conducted in 28 countries by a UK-based consumer tech review firm Comparitech showed that India recorded the highest rate of children falling victim to cyberbullying in 2018. A rise from 15% in 2016 to 37% in 2018, children in India are the worst victims of cyber bullying in the world.

Telenor.com also reported that in a survey of parents and adults across Asia, 79% reported that their child was threatened with physical harm while playing online games. Cyberbullying in kids range from having their emails or text messages forwarded without consent, having an embarrassing picture posted without permission, or having rumours about them spread online.

Don’t hesitate, seek help: We all learn from our mistakes! What’s important is to be able to correct it. Seek the help of parents and/or a trusted senior who would be able to help you get out of the situation and guide you properly.

Quick Responses

How to know that the person is not right?
  • Prevention is better than cure: Do not befriend a person online who you don’t know offline. It’s quite a cake walk to fake one’s identity online. Make sure you don’t meet up with people you have met online. Always speak to your parents about people who pester you to do any of it.
  • NO Means NO: If they say something that sounds wrong or ask you to send your personal pictures, details, etc.
What to do if you feel trapped in such a situation?
  • Don’t hesitate, seek help: We all learn from our mistakes! What’s important is to be able to correct it. Seek the help of parents and/or a trusted senior who would be able to help you get out of the situation and guide you properly.

2. Cyberpredators
With India’s rate of fake profiles ranging across social media platforms, it has become increasingly easy for sexual predators to target kids and take advantage of unsuspecting minors under the garb of virtual anonymity. The 2019 case of the Telangana teen girl’s attempted rape and murder by a 28-year-old man she met online is how dangerous it is to let children be online without supervision or knowledge of how to make their profiles safe. These cases of cyberpredators using innocent kids for ‘sextortion’ and blackmail has led to numerous cases of children suffering with mental health issues and some have even led to these kids committing suicide. In light of such cases and complaints, Delhi Police also launched a comprehensive crackdown on sexual predators, with the help of tips provided by a US-based NGO, in 2019.

Quick Responses

  • Don’t befriend a person online who you don’t know offline. It’s quite a cake walk to fake one’s identity online. If you do, verify the profile before adding
  • Don’t meet strangers. Always speak to your parents about people who pester you to do any of it.
  • Have a high privacy and security profile to yourself, with all safety measures ticked.
  • Traffickers on the Internet target the vulnerable youth. Much like the grooming tactics traffickers lure their target into an online relationship, or with false job promises with the ultimate goal of meeting in person. Traffickers use deliberate process in three main phases:
    (a.) scouting, (b.) manipulating and (c.) trapping.

3. FOMO
While adults still find themselves struggling with the vast and speedy expansion and development of the online world, our kids have grown up with the internet and the numerous social media platforms. For them, playing video-games, being online, having access to this technology seems “natural” and restricting it can fare badly. Kids feel that they’re ‘missing out’, especially when children use digital devices to shop, play games, research, watch movies and connect with new people across the world.

Quick Responses

What to do while gaming?
  • Pop Up Ads: They infect by using malware designed to steal data from your computer – passwords, personal details, etc.
  • Spam & Fake Ads: Hackers also use botnets to send spam and/or fake ads to the ones using the website/game which run on clicks for the hackers to make money.
What to do if you feel trapped in such a situation?
  • Go Old School: Educate your kids to stay away from “free” offers.
  • Don’t hesitate, seek help: We all learn from our mistakes! What’s important is to be able to correct it. Seek the help of parents and/or a trusted senior who would be able to help you get out of the situation and guide you properly.

4. Diary Use
More often than not, a child’s social media is like a diary and an entry into their private life. With ease of access and being only a friend request away, it is possible to steal information and leak it online or blackmail the user with incriminating messages or photos.

Quick Responses

  • Think and limit whatever you put up on media platforms because whatever you let out, never gets deleted.
  • Use an actual diary instead!

5. Griefing
In young kids, the use of internet or digital devices can become heavily addictive. Often parents are noted saying that their kids only show enthusiasm when it comes to video games or being online and would rather choose that over studying or physical outdoors activity. When their network starts doing everything digitally, then kids start substituting their physical presence with an online persona and apply personality development to the online profile.

Quick Responses

  • Always verify what you are indulging with, authenticity is key to being safe.
  • Online games can be an addition but shouldn’t cut down on outdoor activities as it hinders physical, emotional and mental well being. The time with the screen should be restricted.
  • Don’t let peer pressure come in your way and tell you what is cool. Pressure usually takes one down the drain. Define cool by yourself!
  • Never hesitate to seek help. We all learn from our mistakes! What’s important is to be able to correct it. Seek the help of parents and/or a trusted senior who would be able to help you get out of the situation and guide you properly.

6. Inappropriate Content
Inappropriate content has been described in the Child Protection Act as visual depictions that are obsene, child pornography, or material that is “harmful to minors.” Categories under this topic include pornography, hate groups, violence, and illegal activity. And though social media can be a new “community” and encourage kids to learn new things and engage with different cultures, this engagement needs to be safe and responsible.

Quick Responses

  • How do you know the person is not right?
    When you befriend a stranger who’s really inquisitive or keeps persuading you to reveal personal information or information that makes you uncomfortable. Anyone sending you click-bait links or asking about the parents financial details. Or even someone who persuades you to send naked photos or incriminating messages.
  • What if messages scare you or make you feel weird or uncomfortable?
    You Better Watch Out: Be intuitive and aware. Be Sherlock, who would detect all the bad messages, and spotting the good from the bad is the foremost step of staying safe.
  • Ignore, Block, Report (IBR): IBR should be your mantra. Don’t reply to any messages that make you feel uncomfortable – someone asking weird questions or personal details and/or pictures. Never replying is key!
What to do if you feel trapped in such a situation?
  • Don’t hesitate, seek help: We all learn from our mistakes! What’s important is to be able to correct it. Seek the help of parents and/or a trusted senior who would be able to help you get out of the situation and guide you properly.

7. Fake News
While you may believe that fake news is an adult issue, children are actually more susceptible to reading and believing things online. With the introduction of meme culture and picture posts, kids see, like and believe things that are not verified and farfetched. For example, with global news about Coronavirus reaching users, memes and fake news about symptoms have also been widespread.

Quick Responses

  • Check! Consider! Confirm! Always before sharing any post/photo/information.
  • Confirm with two sources and check the URL.
  • Check trending hashtags.

References.

  1. Telenor Group, (February 2017), “Asia’s parents speak up on cyberbullying”
    Retrieved from https://www.telenor.com/asias-parents-speak-up-on-cyberbullying/
  2. Landsford, J.E., & Banati, P., (2018), “Handbook of Adolescent Development Research and Its Impact on Global Policy”
    Retrieved from https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/AdolescentHandbook.pdf
  3. Srivastav, Taruka, (September 2019), “Line uses animated video series to help people spot and stop fake news”
    Retrieved from https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/09/13/line-uses-animated-video-series-help-people-spot-and-stop-fake-news
  4. Kumar, Ajay, (December 2019),”Predators eye teens” Retrieved from https://www.indiatoday.in/msn-itt/story/predators-eye-delhi-teens-1627217-2019-12-11
  5. Zaharia, Andra, (February 2020), “300+ Terrifying Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Statistics & Trends [2019 EDITION]” Retrieved from https://www.comparitech.com/vpn/cybersecurity-cyber-crime-statistics-facts-trends/