“Online Misbehaviour With Children Punishable Under POCSO Act”

Riya Modi

Picture For Representational Purposes

An online discussion revolving around the dangers faced by minors while using the internet was held between Yashwant Jain, member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and cyber investigator and expert Ritesh Bhatia on Thursday. The discussion touched upon several subjects, including stalking or abuse of children, dangers of online gaming and what parents can do to keep an eye on their children’s activities in the online space. 

Taking a hard line against targeting of minors on the internet, Mr Jain said, “Any kind of stalking or abusive conversation with any children will be punishable under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.”

Speaking about the little known side effects of online gaming, Mr Bhatia said that online games that Android Package (APK) files that can allow spyware and malware to enter devices and get access to all your personal information. He also spoke about how the various ploys used by online predators, who can either groom a child in order to do their bidding or intimidate them into submission. Mr Bhatia shared several examples of cases he had handled earlier to emphasize his point. 

“There are a lot of ways through which we can avoid these situations. Parents can add app locks on important apps for added security. Voyeurism has lead to the creation of various platforms that encourage material that qualifies as child sexual abuse. We should report the person or groups that encourage such material under Section 67B of the Information Technology (IT) Act,” Mr Bhatia said, 

He also advised erring on the side of caution when it comes to privacy, by suggesting that instead of sharing our locations with food delivery apps, we could manually enter the delivery address, thus eliminating the need for giving away more information than is necessary. 

“I request the NCPCR to take initiatives to make people aware of child sexual abuse. Also, parents should try to connect to the kids to keep a check rather than breaching their privacy,” he said. 

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