Children use the Internet for everything these days — from researching material for school projects to sending hoax e-mails to posting obscene photos of their friends or teachers for revenge.
Of late, these unlawful activities seem to have become more rampant — a trend that is worrying experts.
“The psychology is to get even,” said Malini Shah, senior counsellor with advocacy group Aavishkar. “It indicates a level of aggression, a desire for crude revenge and sadistic behaviour. The thought process is that hitting back emotionally has a stronger impact.”
Experts blame the rise in violent thoughts among teenagers to unmonitored exposure to similar images or ideas on television.
The Internet brings with it a certain sense of anonymity and the thrill of doing something outside the boundaries of what is allowed or legal.
“Children believe they can do a lot on the Internet and get away with it,” said Shah.
The trend of using the Internet to send out threats or post vulgar MMS clips of friends on websites may be attributed to globalisation and how it had opened up the world of television and Internet.
As technology advances and examples of its misuse are played round the clock on news channels, it gives youth enough time to be influenced.
“Those in the 14 to 16 age group, who are under the heavy influence of electronic media, tend to indulge in such activities,” said B.V. Bhosale, professor, department of sociology, University of Pune.
Bhosale said repeated exposure to vulgar images, for example, develops a mindset among adolescents who then picture people in their vicinity in similar situations.
“These shadows keep lingering in their minds,” said Bhosale. “Often parents may not even be aware of what children are watching.”
Bhosale added that children may not even know the implications of their acts and should be made aware of the same.
Shah said parents should look for signs of abnormal levels of aggression.“Parents should take time out and communicate with their children regularly.”