Protecting children online
Owing to technological advancements and improved access to technology, youth are more likely than ever to own and utilize cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices. Increased access to technology has advantages, but it also raises the danger of abuse.
There is now a growing concern about digital violence or cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as any type of harassment or bullying that occurs via e-mail, a chat room, instant messaging, a website (including blogs), text messaging, and videos or pictures posted on the internet.
Against this backdrop, it is advisable that parents supervise the use of digital devices by their children. When not given an accurate, overall picture of what could happen online, children and youth can fall prey to such types of violence.
They need to be aware of the types of abuse that they could potentially encounter. Digital violence could occur in forms such as sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and emotional abuse. Therefore, it is also essential for adults to be mindful about how their children are engaging online.
Sextortion is a crime that is prevalent all over the world. Sextortion takes on different forms, but at its core, it is the threat to expose sexual images in order to force a person do something. These threats come from both strangers met online and once intimate romantic partners attempting to harass, embarrass, and control victims. Youth must understand how dangerous it is to give a stranger access to their private information. It is mandatory for adults to monitor the online sites that young people visit to ensure that they are suitable. Youth must be made aware that they should not be ashamed of lodging complaints against perpetrators who manipulate them in ways such as blackmail and threats.
Character assassination is another prevalent form of psychological violence that young people face online. Computers and the internet have become a large part of our lives, which means that even our past actions can be manipulated. To counter these risks, parents and caregivers must have open discussions at home to make children aware of the evils online, encourage them to openly speak to them if they are in trouble, and create a safe space, so the child feels free to come to them if they need help. These steps are crucial.
The following authorities can be notified to intervene and stop the imminent danger of a cybercrime.
- Women and children's desks at every police station
- Police Children and Women's Bureau at Grandpass
- National Child Protection Authority (NCPA)
- Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse of Children and Women
- Criminal Investigation Department (CID) specifically the social media division and cybercrimes division of the CID
- Women in Need (WIN)
- The Grassrooted Trust
Important contact numbers
Police Emergency Service: 119
Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT): 0 11 269 1692; 0 11 269 5749;
0 11 267 9888
Women's Helpline by the Ministry - 1938
NCPA - 1929