CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER
I was delighted to find a long lost friend of mine in the social media. She and I were friends right from our early school days and we lost connection when my father got transferred to another city. She found me and I found her after nearly 25 years, and we are mothers of lovely girls. The reuniting story would have happily ended here if not I found a unique coincidence which made me to think about this blog: about times when mothers may turn dangerous for their daughters. Often mothers prefer to make their children introduce to the social media through their own profiles. Many women think it is perfectly all right because the mother and daughter bond would grow, they may get to learn the virtual relationships together and mother will always protect her baby even in the cyber space. Mostly this ‘bringing the child to the social media through the mother’s profile’ takes place when the child is in the age group of 5 to 10/11 , the age when they are vulnerable targets by online groomers who spread their net for trapping children for varied reasons including paedophilia as well as online monetary cheating of the parents through the children. Mothers often think that by introducing the child to the social media through their own profiles they can save the children from such dangers. But how wrong they are….
My friend’s daughter or her mother or many mothers of daughters may never know what dangerous gate they are opening for their daughters. A very recent report from Jharkhand is a living example: a minor girl was harassed by none other than her mother’s Facebook friend in the Facebook and when the girl confessed the victimisation, the Child Welfare Board suggested that the safest place for the girl should not be with the mother, but with her grandparents (BBC, 13thFebruary,2014). This is but one example as how mother’s profile can invite danger for the daughter. It needs to be remembered that even if it is a mother who would want her daughter to be safe and secured, in virtual world, a mother’s profile can be equally dangerous for her daughter. The profile that may be created by the mother would essentially be an adult profile and such profiles are never completely immuned from predators. Let me sketch a detail about how the daughters are trapped:
- Tell her the password and she may get to see everything you have ‘liked’…………..including news on genocide , rape, child abuse and domestic violence. Think how she would react by seeing the visual images or reading about the hard truth?
- Don’t tell me that you have never received any sexually stimulating message in your inbox ( ok.. it is in your ‘other box’ and you have never opened it). Your daughter is smarter than you to check all messages…… including those you never wanted to see yourself and don’t know how to delete it permanently.
- Thinking that it is you, your ‘friend’ starts chatting with your daughter and passes some bits of adult joke, gossips about you, your neighbour, your school mate or your office colleague. Check the language ….you may have never wanted your daughter to learn or hear those ‘nasty adult language’. Now, imagine her shock when she is rudely introduced to the negative sides of virtual socialising.
- You are in the middle of separation and you have blocked your ex. But he is continuously stalking you through enormous fake profiles and has spies spread across in your own friends-list. Imagine your daughter’s shock when she starts getting messages from the person you have taught her to hate the most.
- You would get worst surprises when you would get to see your profile flooded with requests for friendship from unknown strangers whom your daughter may have unknowingly tagged or talked about.
Not to forget that the medium of communication can be mobile phones, I pads or tablets, the children are more tempted to enter the adult world when these gazettes are left unattended with children whom their parents have taught to unlock and use them without any specific teaching about how to handle the whole thing safely. A mother or a father or the grand parents may feel happy and proud to say that their toddler or their young child knows everything about the digital communication gazette and uses it herself frequently. But I really don’t find anything to be proud for that. The mother may become directly responsible for pushing the daughter to the dangerous world of cyber crimes. In India parental responsibility had been questioned many times by the courts when it is the matter of leaving the child alone for beggary, pushing the child for child marriage etc. But laws have changed and so has the criminal justice understanding of the parental liabilities and responsibilities. Besides the Juvenile justice care and protection Act, The Protection of children from sexual offences Act is one such law which is merciless when it comes to parental negligence for child abuse including online child abuse.
Hence mothers, let your daughters see the virtual world through their own eyes and not yours, but of course with your guidance.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2014),“When mothers turn dangerous for daughters
”16thMarch, 2014, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/