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Govt wants schools to teach kids about risks of internet

WCD and human resource development ministries will take up these and a slew of other measures proposed to ring-fence lakhs of children from multiple dangers associated with the internet.

education Updated: Jan 13, 2018 21:44 IST
Neelam Pandey
Experts say that growing addiction to smartphones and computers are creating what they describe as “social isolation” among youngsters leading to depression and suicidal tendencies.
Experts say that growing addiction to smartphones and computers are creating what they describe as “social isolation” among youngsters leading to depression and suicidal tendencies.(HT File Photo)

The ministry of women and child development has suggested that school curriculum includes lessons on the harmful impact of internet addiction and cyber ethics, laying out a roadmap for tackling one of the biggest concerns of parents with growing children in India.

On Monday, the WCD and human resource development ministries will take up these and a slew of other measures proposed to ring-fence lakhs of children from multiple dangers associated with the internet.

Besides officials of the two ministries, the meeting of will also be attended by state education ministers and a few other Union ministers. The meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the apex body that advises the central and state governments, will be chaired by HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar.

As computer studies is mandatory in the syllabus, it would be beneficial for the students, if the course also contains “information about cyber laws, internet ethics, cyber security measures, what all to avoid online and why as well as psychosocial impact of internet addiction” says the agenda of the meeting accessed by HT.

Experts say that growing addiction to smartphones and computers are creating what they describe as “social isolation” among youngsters leading to depression and suicidal tendencies.

The WCD ministry has said as much to tackle growing loneliness among children.

“It is proposed to stress upon the need for counseling during the growing up years. As the society is witnessing a transition from larger families and community dependence to smaller nuclear families, children are becoming lonely. The situation is further complicated as both the parents go to work, playgrounds are shrinking and internet/mobiles are the closest buddy available to kids”.

It added that this scenario is not limited to the metro cities but is being experienced in small towns too.

“NCRB data has reported that there has been a rise in crime against children. In such a scenario, psycho social counselling needs to be strengthened,” the ministry note added.

Besides, the ministry has suggested strengthening counseling and introducing psychosocial counseling in schools to tackle growing crime against children.

The ministry has also suggested that parents -- through parents-teacher associations should be approached for making them aware about the unusual behaviour pattern and other symptoms indicative of child suffering due to mind numbing games and violent games.

To create better awareness about Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) e-Box -- an online complaint box for reporting child sexual abuse -- the ministry has suggested publishing information related to that and Childline (1098) helpline on the course books. The suggestion has been made for state boards too.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had enhanced the scope of POCSO e-box last November to handle cyber bullying, cyber stalking, morphing images of child pornography and child victims of cyber-crimes.

The facility received 1153 hits till December 11 but only 59 cases were found to be complaints related to offences covered under POCSO. To ensure students are aware of this facility and are aware of the right to file a complaint it has been suggested that details should be printed on the back of textbooks.