Ground Report | New Delhi: Cybercrime against children has increased by over 400 percent in 2020 as compared to 2019, most of which are related to the publication or transmission of material depicting children in sexual acts. The information has come to the fore in the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Cybercrime against children
According to the NCRB data, Uttar Pradesh (170), Karnataka (144), Maharashtra (137), Kerala (107), and Odisha (71) are among the top five states related to cyber crimes against children. According to the Bureau’s data, a total of 842 cases of online crimes against children were reported in 2020, out of which 738 cases were related to publishing or disseminating material depicting children in sexual acts.
The NCRB data for 2020 shows that there has been an increase of over 400 percent in cyber crimes against children (registered under the Information Technology Act) as compared to 2019. 164 cases of cyber crimes against children were registered in 2019, while in 2018 117 cases of cyber crimes against children were reported. Earlier in 2017, 79 such cases were registered.
Puja Marwah, chief executive officer of the NGO CRY (Child Rights and You), says that children are also facing many kinds of risks while spending more time on the internet to get education and access other communication purposes. They say that children especially spend more time on the Internet for studies, especially online sexual abuse, exchanging obscene messages, exposure to pgraphy, sexual abuse material, cyber-bullying, and online harassment among many other privacy. – are facing related risks.
She said, ‘While there is little evidence to ascertain the impact of the measures taken to prevent the Covid-19 epidemic, online abuse and exploitation of children, more due to the closure of schools and more children on the Internet. It can have serious adverse effects on them because of the time spent. Marwah said that limited opportunities for socialization due to the lockdown and closure of schools have also affected the psycho-social welfare of the children. (Cybercrime against children)
She said, ‘This can increase loneliness. They may be more vulnerable to compulsively using the Internet, accessing objectionable content, bullying or abuse. Marwah called for the need for harmonization between Internet governance policy and forums for child protection in the current discourse on children’s digital rights.
According to the news agency PTI, the measures taken to prevent its spread during the Covid-19 epidemic have resulted in the closure of schools and the introduction of online education. Children also spent more time online for entertainment, social and educational purposes, while not necessarily aware of any associated risks.
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internet access at home
According to the UNICEF report (2020), 13 percent of children and people aged 25 years or less in South Asia used the Internet at home. The report also noted that only 14 percent of school children (3-17 years old) in low-middle income countries have internet access at home.
However, there is no conclusive data available in the public domain to ascertain the number of children accessing the Internet for education and other purposes in India during the pandemic. The UNICEF (2020) report has estimated that during the Covid-19 pandemic, around 33.7 million children in 16 states of India continued education through various distance learning initiatives such as online classes and radio programmes.