What do we know about cyber laws? Precious little except for the fact that watching porn is illegal – maybe? Does any of us knows that the minimum age required to be able to join social media is 13? Do we care? We must as the young generation needs to be guided through the maze called cyberspace by us.
Though not many of us do better than to curse the kids for having social media accounts and spending copious amount of time on it, we can’t monitor what they do there. The best way to stop kids from making mistakes online and therefore, offline, we need to update their knowledge of cyber laws and cyber etiquette.
Now, for the first time in India, two enthusiastic civil servants have joined hands on a mission to take Kerala’s Malappuram district to a new first in cyber literacy. After becoming the country’s first e-literate district 14 years ago, the city is set to be the first cyber literate district in the country.
This campaign is the brainchild and dream of the District Police Chief, Prateesh Kumar and the District Collector, Amit Meena. The fulfillment of this cyber dream will add another feather to the district’s cap in its golden jubilee year.
The police chief has now begun a drive to reach out to students and youngsters to show them the treacherous corners of the cyberworld.
“Although many of you have been active on social media, our knowledge of the cyberworld may be abysmal,” the SP told an audience at the Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Kottakkal, recently.
He was right. No student, parent or even teacher present at the workshop was aware that 13 years was the minimum age required for opening an account in social media. Many hands that had risen in enthusiasm were lowered in embarrassment as the Police chief asked the students if they had attained the minimum age.
“Making them aware of the cyberworld is the best way out to prevent cyber-related crimes,” he told the media.
He is chalking out a detailed plan to reach out to the youth across the district with the message of cyber vigil.
The District Collector has offered him full support in the drive. “It’s high time we taught the youngsters about the positive and negative effects of the social media,” said Mr Meena, requesting all departments and organisations to cooperate in conducting the drive.
Hundreds of youngsters had participated in a lockdown across Kerala, triggered by a social media call for protest against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl at Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in April. But, they had turned to vandalism. Of the 14 districts Malappuram had topped in its ugly response to the social media lockdown.