Figures on online child abuse unreliable: UNICEF

Updated - November 01, 2016 08:48 pm IST

Published - September 25, 2016 12:00 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The Internet has revolutionised the way children access learning resources, socialise and entertain themselves, but despite these advantages there are challenges and threats that should not go ignored.

Addressing these issues, UNICEF India has come out with a Child Online Protection in India report, which offers a glimpse into the risks and threats children face when they use the internet and social media.

The report states that despite there being about 400 million Internet users in India, a majority of which are the youth, there are no reliable figures on the extent, patterns and trends of child online abuse and exploitation. This is because no comprehensive survey has been carried out.

The report also found that according to the Teens, Tweens and Technology Survey commissioned by Intel Securities in India in 2015, around 43 per cent of children active on social media claimed to have witnessed cruel behaviour on social networks, while 52 per cent indicated that they had themselves bullied people over social media.

‘Must work together’

The option to stay anonymous online and impersonate others also emboldens people into criminal acts and lower the deterrent potential of laws, says the report.

The report says that cyber crimes against children, which can manifest in many forms like sexting, online grooming, production and distribution of child pornography and cyber bullying, are under-reported and not included in the National Crime Records Bureau statistics as a separate category.

The report also stresses the importance of empowering parents, professionals and policy-makers to play an active role in preventing and protecting children from online abuse and exploitation.

“No single agency or government institution can ensure the safety of children from online threats and violence. This calls for all to work together,” said Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, said that the ministry is taking steps to block sites depicting child abuse but child online safety requires collective effort from all stakeholders.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.