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A new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) points towards the prevailing gap in children’s cyber safety in India.
According to the report, about 400 million people use internet and mobile in India, out of which around 134 million are children. It was also found that the number of kids equipped with mobile phones is still growing.
By 2017, the internet is likely to improve and turn speedier while providing these children the opportunity to connect with people worldwide.
The report, released on September 22, also pointed towards the lack in the digital literacy and online safety measures. This leads to exposure of children to various crimes like sexual abuse, cyber bullying, among others.
The exact statistics of online sexual abuse of children in India and across the world is unknown despite the crime being on a rise, the Unicef report revealed.
“According to International Association of Internet Hotlines, the number of webpages containing child sexual abuse material increased by 147 per cent from 2012 to 2014, with children up to 10 years of age portrayed in 80 per cent of them,” the report stated.
Unicef says that it aims at preventing the heinous crime and expects governments, civil society organisations, law enforcement agencies, stake holders and private corporations to group up and collaborate to stop such crimes.
In India, efforts are being made by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to safeguard children and their rights.
Unicef further emphasised on child safety measures and advised that parents and teachers too should contribute in protecting children from cyber crimes.
“We need more regulations and we also need all the stakeholders and duty-bearers such as parents and teachers to contribute to this. There is also a need to engage with the private sector to invent some of the protections,” UNICEF Representative to India Louis-Georges Arsenault told PTI.
Unicef has also recommended framing improvised laws for children’s cyber safety in India and also suggests analysing and revising the existing laws for child abuse and exploitation.