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Child Sexual Abuse in Cyber World. Just Cannot Ignore!

24 April 2011 4,060 views No Comment

Written by: Rashmi S

Bunch of blogger friends are hosting a month long initiative on child sexual abuse awareness. Please visit the site, support and spread the word. Do your bit for your child.

CSA

We like it or not, we have stepped into times where the line between the virtual and physical world is getting blur. Online sexual abuse is on the rise and is as damaging as physical abuse. When I talked to friends about this initiative, was surprised to hear how they completely overlook online abuse. These friends, who are otherwise paranoid moms. News like this and and this are very much real and increasing at an alarming rate. In today’s world, where kids have a larger virtual world, where sms/messaging has become a common means of communication, online reputation holds a lot of importance and can scar them just like a physical abuse.

Gauri and Vidya have written a comprehensive post on this topic here and here . If you are here and haven’t read those post yet, I would strongly recommend to read them.

Few points I wish to reiterate. Communication – There is simply no other alternative. No matter how much of a protective sphere we build, or hand holding we do, or tools and processes we put in place, things happen. The best way to help at these times of uncertain phases is to provide our kids with a trusted communication channel. This cannot be built overnight, it is a trust the kids develop over a period of time and it can only be established if we parents are willing to lend a listening ear without being judgmental and are open and adjusting to the newer generation.

Monitor, monitor, monitor. Monitor with hawk eyes. Be part of the child’s virtual network at least until the kid is old enough and has the capacity to fully understand how internet works, how data gets persisted in the virtual world and the consequences of sharing any kind of content in the world wide web.

Show them the power of technology. Show them how easy it is to take a picture of theirs and morph their face into another body. Set clear ground rules of what can be uploaded into social networking sites and what kind of language can be used. Give them enough data points that they are convinced on the need of these rules. If they don’t buy into the rules, there is a good chance they wont follow the rules.

Check on their friends list periodically. Online users can take any name, age, description and even photo. It is important to question the kids how they know a certain friend.

A general thumb rule we tell our kids. When in doubt ask yourself – Can I tell this to my parents? If the answer is no, there is a good chance that will lead to trouble.

Monika, Kiran, admins, the back-end folks and everyone else who is part of this initiative, you have done your part to make this world a safer place for our kids. Thanks for leading this initiative!

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