HT Forum: Beware, children can fall prey to online predators  | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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HT Forum: Beware, children can fall prey to online predators 

There are professionals who ‘groom’ children for sexual activities online and then exploit them, warn panellists

lucknow Updated: May 21, 2017 11:10 IST
Team HT
Panellists discuss online activities amongst children at Hindustan Times in Lucknow on Wednesday.
Panellists discuss online activities amongst children at Hindustan Times in Lucknow on Wednesday. (HT Photo)

Children are exposed to smart phones, Internet and this makes them vulnerable to sexual abuse through the virtual world. Experts expressed concern over the issue at a forum organised at Hindustan Times’ office here on Wednesday.

The campaign against child sexual abuse, initiated by Hindustan Times, is part of HT Woman Awards 2017.

“Every child is exposed to pornography and this increases the threat to their safety. There have been cases where adults befriend children through social networking sites and lure them to send their semi- nude and nude pictures. They also indulge in sexual chats and acts through the Internet,” said Amrita Dass, a renowned counsellor and director, Institute of Career Studies.

Expert speak
  • “Every child is exposed to pornography and this increases the threat to their safety. There have been cases where adults befriend children through social networking sites and lure them to send their semi- nude and nude pictures. They also indulge in sexual chats and acts through the Internet.” - Amrita Dass, director, Institute of Career Studies
  • “Most of the victims don’t want to share the finer details of the incident. Moreover, tracing the culprit in cyber world is also not easy as offenders use fake identities on social media accounts etc. In such a case, it becomes difficult to find the real person behind the crime.”- Arvind Chaturvedi, ASP, STF

Arvind Chaturvedi, additional superintendent of police, Special Task Force (STF) highlighted several cases of online abuse of children.

“Online abuse of children can happen through social networking, online gaming and smart phones. There are organised rackets and professionals who ‘groom’ children for sexual activities online and then exploit them,” said Chaturvedi.

Dealing with several cases of abuse in the real and virtual world, he added, “Gradually the cases of abuse in the virtual world are converted into real world cases. In most cases, a strong bond is built between the abuser and the victim through online chats and conversations. This leads to meetings in the real world and often to physical abuse.”

“Most of the victims don’t want to share the finer details of the incident. Moreover, tracing the culprit in cyber world is also not easy as offenders use fake identities on social media accounts etc. In such a case, it becomes difficult to find the real person behind the crime,” he added.

The panelists expressed concern that the use of Internet and abuse of children was a growing trend in rural areas also.

“The problem is grave in slums too, where children experiment the acts they see in porn chips. What is even worse is that such crimes are not taken seriously and are not reported. It continues to go on as a tradition as parents silence their children by saying that they too underwent similar abuses in their childhood,” said Sangeeta Sharma, member, child welfare committee.

Read more| Child sexual abuse: More than half of the victims are boys