Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber crime and parenting in India

On Day 3, we will be a conducting a cyber safety workshop for students. The workshop will address both middle school and high school students and educate them on how to safely surf the internet.

We chatted with Debarati Halder, the managing director of Center for Cyber Victim Counselling to get her thoughts on cyber safety, parenting internet-savvy children and more.

Debarati is an advocate and legal researcher. She is presently working on her PhD research at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore. She is the author of the book Cyber crime and the Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights, and Regulations. Her published works can be viewed at She is also the founding secretary of South Asian Society of Criminology and Victimology (

Please tell us a bit about a cyber crime in the context of India. How prevalent is it and what forms does it take?
Since my main interest is cyber crime against women, I have seen that women most often suffer from breach of privacy and defamation in the cyber space. This happens mostly through creation of fake profiles, using pictures for wrong reasons and victimising the already victims like spreading rape scenes or sexual molestation scenes through internet. The recent addition is of course trolling and adult bullying targeting women in the social media like Tweeter.
However, in general terms, both men and women in India suffer hugely from phishing attack. Losing money by believing in the lottery mails, fake job promises etc are big problem in India for both men and women.
What do people need to be aware of when surfing the internet?
It depends upon what you are surfing for. But in general my tips are as follows:
1. Do not give your personal details to any website unless you are sure that it is a trustworthy site.
2. Do not refer any unknown person/site to your friend. You may actually be doing harm by exposing your friend to danger.
3. Beware of malicious sites. Once clicked into, your computer may get ‘contaminated’.
4. Especially when children are surfing, adult monitoring must be there as they may be suddenly be exposed to unwanted material.
For parents, do you have pointers on what they should be doing to protect their children in cyber space?
1. Monitor, but don’t be too fussy. Most children will love to ‘experiment’ with the prohibited staff and internet is no exception.
2. With usage of gaming sites, see that the children do not misuse parents' ids if he/she is under age. In case he/she has her own ID, tell them to be cautious.
3. Have a family internet time. This way, the children can have fun learning and parents can monitor children’s surfing too.
4. Use child protective softwares and be your child’s friend in the social media.
5. If some untowardly thing happens, don’t scold the child, instead encourage her to contact the police. From our organisation at Centre for Cyber victim Counselling ( we provide help and counselling and we encourage adults and children to contact us in need.

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