Gurugram police to launch drive to check misuse of social media by teens

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Published on Aug 17, 2020 11:54 PM IST
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By Leena Dhankhar, Gurugram

The city police, in a move to create awareness among teens on the misuse of social media, will start an awareness campaign with the help of schools, officials said on Monday.

In this campaign, the cyber-crime cell officials will rope in experts to take online classes for school students and educate them on the use of cyber space, including social networking websites.

The awareness campaign by the police come sin the backdrop of a 17-year-old British national of Indian origin being allegedly sexually assaulted, thrashed and threatened in Sushant Lok-1 on July 23 allegedly by 10 boys, whom he had met through a social networking app. The incident was reported on Saturday, following which a case was registered.

Police commissioner KK Rao said that the motive behind starting such an awareness drive was to check the rise of cybercrime incidents involving students. “These days teenagers try newly launched applications and use them to upload their personal information and their pictures. Students take to social media to open their hearts and connect with strangers, without weighing the pros and cons of such situations,” he said.

In May, a controversy had erupted after a social media group — comprising mainly schoolboys — that discussed purported plans to rape a classmate was discovered. In Gurugram, a 14-year-old boy had committed suicide soon after the incident by jumping off from the 11th floor of his apartment building. He was not part of the social media group but was scared of being named as a molester by a girl who made a ‘#metoo’ social media post after screenshots of the group went viral on social media platforms.

Rao said parents need to watch the internet usage of children and must monitor their activities on social media platforms. “The social media platforms these days are mostly used by youngsters. Looking at the cases that are coming up, we realise that it’s the teenagers who are misusing them also. Lack of awareness is a major issue and these teens don’t know where to draw a line,” Rao said, adding that focus should be on sharing laws on misuse of cyber space.

The police said they are taking the help of schools in carrying out their campaign.

Sudha Goyal, director, Scottish High International School, said that the official age to use social networking website is 18 years and above. But that age rule is hardly followed and its easy to create fake accounts to register on any sites. “We can’t stop students from using the cyber space, but we can educate them . Just like we talk about “good touch and bad touch” during regular classes, our teachers regularly counsel students, specially the little ones, on issues of online stranger acquaintances, social media encroachers and cyber security. We will also start a fresh awareness drive to educate students and will rope in cyber experts for the same,” she said.

Rohit Malik, director, Lancers International School, said that social media usage can have both positive and negative influence. “It all depends on how a student interacts with the medium. Even the parents need to create social media literacy so that children can use the medium for their benefit. Instead of asking students to just get off social media, which they won’t, we must educate them how and what to use and what should be avoided,” he said.

Neeti Kaushik, principal of Mount Olympus School in Sector 47 said that learning is an integrated process where we learn together about threats and challenges of technology and social media through continuous interaction in the form of class wise group discussions by principal and teachers. “We believe that guidance and care should never stop and that the sole aim of guidance is to enable our learners with the life skill to choose wisely. We choose to instruct less and empower more so that our learners are able to think of consequences and make decisions that are trustworthy. We believe in keeping our learners constructively engaged and occupied in pursuit of health, knowledge, creativity and self-development. We focus on building a positive school climate that enthuses happiness, positivity and free expression without judgment,” she said.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021