“I don’t want my son to grow on to become a rapist,” shared a harrowed mother, whom PWI team met at a prominent rehab centre, where her 9 year old son was undergoing treatment for behavioural issues. The name of the mother-son and the institute has been withheld for sake of anonymity.
The mother had come to the clinic with chief complaints of behavioural problems of the child. She said that her son could not concentrate on his studies, was impatient and often lost in his fantasy world. On digging deep into the history in order to find out what precipitated these behavioural issues in the child already fighting a weak intellectual quotient came up an incident that certainly left an undesirable impression on the mind of the child.
With reluctance to open up about the history of the ward at first; the mother chose to narrate the whole incident. “The child who used to sleep with his unmarried uncle accidentally got online exposure to some porn material for certain period of time,” she said.
Mother unaware of this incident, noticed some behavioural issues with the child when he started excessively hugging and kissing her. She became increasingly bothered when he started touching his sister inappropriately. To top it up, a call from the school of the child was the last nail in the coffin that the child needs help. Rushing to the school she was informed that her son may get expelled from the school as he tried to force himself on his classmate. In utter shock and query on what could have let that innocent to do such a horrendous act. Holding her compose back, she managed to convince the dean of the school to take the child back as she will take her son to the specialist.
At the clinic, ‘What will be the future of my son?’ was the first question asked by the mother. The child is taking counselling and behavioural shaping sessions. Taken back to school with an undertaking from parents.
This is one such incident showcasing the dreadful impact of unmonitored internet access on the mind of a minor. Thus, parents must be watchful to the content that is surfed by children. Make most of the ‘parent control’ options available. Let your child continue enjoying safe surfing on internet.
Threat Looms Large: Growing use of internet; social media by minors make them vulnerable too
Increasing population of Minor’s, today, has increased access to internet. There are innumerable reasons for children to access internet like study, social networking and you tube. A survey by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) revealed that 95% of teens (12-17) use the internet. 81% use social media (compared with 72% of internet users overall). There is a sort of addiction that makes them log in the social networking site more often with 72% logging more than once per day.
The survey was conducted under ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF) of 4,750 parents of the age group 6-13 years old in major metropolitan cities like Lucknow ranks 1st followed by Delhi-NCR (2nd), Mumbai (3rd), Ahemdabad (4th), Chennai (5th), Kolkata (6th), Bangalore (7th), Hyderabad (8th), Pune, Coimbatore, Chandigarh and Dehradun etc. According to the findings, 76% minors under age of 13 use ‘You tube’. 65% of kids under 13 use social media sites. They also found out that YouTube is the most popular site, with 75% of teens saying they access it most often. Lack of knowledge, experience at that tender age makes them vulnerable to cyber bullying or other cyber related crimes. In developing countries, kids use computers more frequently.
In India ASSOCHAM survey got data that shows on an average, kids use computers 12-14 hours a week versus 8 hours a week (for kids in developed countries). According to Dr. B K Rao, Chairman of ASSOCHAM Health Committee said, “Minors lack the experience or judgment to use a social network and this raises the scary predators tracking down kids who reveal their age in an online chat, cyber bullying and online sexual abuse”.
• 95% of teens (12-17) use the internet
• 81% use social media (compared with 72% of internet users overall)
• 72% log into social media more than once per day
• 65% of kids under 13 use social media sites
• 76% of kids under 13 have a YouTube account
• 51% of those said that they have a smartphone
• The majority of teens are using laptops (35%) and tablets (32%) to access their favorite websites
• YouTube is the most popular site, with 75% of teens saying they access it most often
Though many safety parental control applications to limit the access by children are available but things become more difficult when both parents are working. D S Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM said, “The easy availability of technology with lack of parental supervision is a significant reason for this ever-increasing menace of technology addiction”, highlights the survey.
Access to certain sites by children can result in an undesirable impact on mind of a child and affect further development or behaviour of the child. In extreme cases the impact can be irrevocable.
Citing an anecdote elaborating the hazardous impact that premature exposure to certain sites can have on a dwelling mind.