Kerala: Digital de-addiction centres on cards
In a move to tackle the compulsive internet usage among children, the Kerala police have devised a digital de-addiction centre called D-Dad. “D-Dad will have dedicated centres equipped with cutting edge services to ensure psychological support to such children,” said additional director general of police (ADGP) Manoj Abraham on Wednesday.
The initiative was announced last year but was given clearance by the government on Wednesday.
Abraham had also started a programme against child pornography called P-Hunt.He said initially four centres will be opened in the state and later it will be extended to 126 child-friendly police stations across the state.
D-Dad will be manned by psychologists, counsellors and children-friendly toolkits.The focus will be on interactive education, device- free retreats and scientifically supported diversion tactics.
“Extensive research will be carried out after studying separate cases for effective intervention,” said the ADGP, adding, the centre is the first of its kind in the country.
“It is our duty to protect every child. We have been getting frantic calls from worried parents seeking help to rescue their children from addiction,” he said, adding, help of teachers, parents, student police cadets and others will be roped in. He said the D-Dad will be implemented with the support of departments of education, social welfare and health and women and child welfare.
According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India, around 46% Indians use internet actively with Maharashtra topping the list at 61% followed by Kerala 59% .
Cyber experts said children spending more time online are vulnerable to online sexual abuse, exposure to pornography and many other privacy- related maladies and if unchecked they can turn addicts in no time. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, cyber crimes surged 12% across the country in 2020-21.
“The biggest impact of the pandemic, besides health issues, is online crime. Pandemic increased digital usage considerably and this also spiked use in pornography, especially involving children. Many think that Darknet use will go unnoticed but they are mistaken as we have modern mechanism to bust and track,” said Abraham.
Over 250 arrests were made in last two years in Kerala under the P-Hunt.