There is a door open in your home ! Safeguard your Child !

How would you feel that your home has a open door that you are not aware of ? How would your react if i were to say that your child is exposed to this open door ? Have you ever wondered what your child is doing online ? Isnt it time that we start to understand the impending threats of an unregulated internet at home. Assuming that the government is doing a lot of measures to curb illegal material online and also assuming that our ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) also do a great job in regulating content online. 10th of Februray commemorates Safe Internet Day and is a good time to discuss issues related to this and thereby create awareness among the society at large.

First lets understand certain basic facts about online content.

1. Content is classified as legal or illegal based on the person viewing the content . What might be appropriate viewing for an adult can be offensive when viewed by children and minors. Content providers need to provide Proper Age verification systems on their website to facilitate child protection on such sites.

2. Online content is never limited by geographical boundaries. National borders don’t play a pivotal role in internet. In principle the criminal jurisdiction can be created with the place in which the criminal act has been performed or the place in which the perpetrator resides

3. Dissemination of content takes place in the following manner. It also narrows down on the onus of shouldering responsibility .

Content Producers >> Content Providers >> Access Providers >> Users.

The principal role players in child protection falls primarily with parents and then its is left to the teachers. These two are the key stake holders in providing online safety to children. Create an awareness campaign among parents spreading the message on the possible risks that are children face online and how we can combat and prevent such threats. We need to remove certain perceptions on safety that most parents have about the online world. Apart from protecting our children from lurking paedophiles online, today the children are exposed to extreme forms of violence in video games and demented views online. We hear cases and instances of misguided youth taking to directions of terrorism. Eventhough we are yet to find a direct blatant link between online content and behavioural influence we cannot deny the fact that there is an element of threat.

Some of the Recommendations that we can propose to address these issues are

1. We need set standards / clear guidelines for online game development as well as for adult content viewing
2. We need to put in place Sophisticated Data mining tools to track the online perpetrators who have been producing Child porn content
3. We need to have an ISOC Chennai focus group on Child protection online that can address these issue on the ground in Indian Scenario.
4. In Indian most of the content is accessed by children from cybercafe and we need to insist on universal framework / means to verify age group of the user to address this concern
5. We should clearly establish a minimum age sentiment on certain sites like Child erotica, manga, Stales so on.
6. Using the ISOC Chennai Focus group on Child protection, we need to empower the parent and teachers on mechanisms and methods by which adequate measures are taken to protect children from such exploitation. First there needs to be Self regulation instruments and that awareness needs to be imparted to the parents and teachers.
7. From ISOC Chennai we need to create a Youth protection round table inviting teachers and parents to be a part of and that encourages collaborative and cross border dialogue thereby to provide an optimal mix of effective technology enhanced strategies in one hand and education based strategies on the other thereby enable a safer and secure internet.
8. Global organisations like Clicksafe, CEOP, Insafe network will join up with organisations from all over the world in a virtual exhibition ground starting from 10th February. Currently Insafe operates across European Union and we in India need to create a similar body to address a much bigger child user group online. The Insafe virtual fair will open its doors to the public on 10th February and close on February 24th. You can access this event at http://www.sidfair.org, visitors will be able to get an overview of what is going on in their country, browse resources in their language and watch videos.

All these issues need to be addressed and in Indian scenario we are in a very premature stage in terms of Child protection online. We are talking about moulding a future generation and It is the onus of credible organisations like ISOC to address these issues. As a part of this we invite educators and parents to join hands with us to make this possible after all we serve our time at earth for maybe 60 – 70 years, but lets leave behind a better tomorrow for our children.

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