Sunday, January 31, 2010
Our latest iniative which will keep evolving
While rapid innovative advances in information and communications have created an exciting world for anyone with access to the related services and offered unparalleled opportunities, it has also had an immeasurable impact on the sexual exploitation of children
Various forums and groups randomly but routinely tend to report on adult content websites and the impact on children and young people accessing them. However there is hardly any scrutiny or understanding of an issue which warrants our immediate attention - online “grooming” of children and young people by potential child sex abusers leading to usually risky and dangerous situations - and which is now part of the recently amended IT Act.
We need to understand that at any given moment thousands of potential/child sex abusers are making contact online with unsuspecting children and young people, native and completely reliant on ICT’s, with the intention of further exploitation. And this situation though seemingly unimaginable is happening alarmingly on our doorsteps, in India. However considering the proliferation of the internet and telephony and ease of access, the demographics of the end user of the new technologies along with the socio-cultural milieu which frowns on healthy interpersonal interaction among young people, the platform new technologies offer are easy alternatives without an understanding of the potential risks and dangers involved.
This presents an even more alarming scenario with the Govt of India’s recent National Study on Child Abuse, indicating a high prevalence of sexual abuse, along with the fact that in 2009, India was placed 4th among internet users worldwide.
Issues of online exploitation such as cyberbullying, sexual victimization etc., are a wide-spread problem today, but are not fully understood or addressed. We believe that children and young people need to know more about the potential risks and threats online and how to deal with them, to be safe offline
No country is immune from this new form of child sexual exploitation, and while it will take a concerted effort from governments, law enforcement, and industry to ensure that the world’s children are protected, it is the civil society efforts that are fundamental in order to effectively address this growing phenomenon.