It’s not every day that the top cop of a city takes time out to speak to a houseful of youth on one of the biggest challenges the society faces today – social media addiction. That is why when Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar took time off from his busy schedule to share his invaluable insight on social media and cyber safety with youth, every word he spoke was worth its weight in gold; both for the youth and the academicians present at Vashi’s ICL College where the talk was organised.
“YOUR PARENTS MIGHT NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE WATCHING UNDER THE BLANKET IN YOUR ROOM BUT THE WORLD DOES”
Today’s youth have become super trained in keeping themselves busy for hours and hours after school, most even way past bedtime. They are constantly on their phones – texting, sharing, trolling, scrolling, you name it. Their friendships, learnings, inspirations and even decision making are all coming from a screen and not another person. It this culture that formed the crux of Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar’s advice to youth. “If you are below 18 years of age and are using Facebook or Instagram, it’s a crime. Not many know this. But it’s there in the clauses that anyone signs with the ‘I agree’ icon when they open an account,” the top cop informed the youth. He also voiced “disappointment on the fact that many teachers are encouraging the practice of teaching through Facebook or other social media apps.”
He went on to warn the youth present of the danger of social media by explaining, “You might think that whatever you are doing online, whether chatting or watching something in your room with the door closed, under the blanket, no one can see or know. But the fact is that while your parents wouldn’t know but world knows what you are doing. So beware as this is perceived anonymity when in reality, there is none.”
SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE IS CREATING “CYBER SYNDICATES”
With everything happening around, the top cop shared how social media makes its users vulnerable to become party to violence and crime both. He explained to the youth, “when you make a thousand friends on Facebook, WhatsApp or other social media platforms, often like-minded people come together and a cyber syndicate is formed and its easy to sow the seeds of intolerance. This gives people the platform to instigate and turn violent against a mere opinion of a person you don’t agree with.”
“CYBER BULLYING LEADS TO DISASTER”
Increase in social media usage has started another dangerous trend – cyber bullying. By being online, indirectly it has gotten easier to be cruel. Youth text things that one would never in a million years contemplate saying to anyone’s face and latest research show this is more in girls. Social media is teaching youth to disagree in ways that are more extreme than ever before. “The youth gang up on each other,” the Police Commissioner said. Citing an example he says, “If you study in a class of 50 students and you are in a WhatsApp or Facebook group, then you are easily vulnerable to the cruelty of cyber bullying. For instance if anyone does character assassination of a girl, no one will come to defend the girl. In fact, there would be many who would join the malign game.”
“IN JUST 10 DOLLARS ANYONE CAN KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU”
Another valuable advice to the youth at the event was on how information about them is mere-data-to-be-sold for Facebook and other social media platforms. And this can have adverse effects when the youth finish college and step in the real world, to face real life and look for real jobs. “In just 10 dollars the company that you want to work with can find out every single thing you have been doing online on social media platforms. Everything that you do online is being recorded and saved. Nothing is deleted.”
The Police Commissioner informed the youth about how hackers can even mask email ids and phone numbers to do cyber-crime. Simply put, tomorrow you can receive an email from your own email id, a call or message from your own number or even the Prime Minister of India’s email id. And it will all be a part of crime being done by someone online.
“CYBER WORLD IS A CRAZY WORLD. USE IT WITH WISDOM.”
The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, a private, non-profit organization established in 1984 by the United States Congress along with National Crime Bureau publishes data of people posting indecent videos of people without their knowledge or consent. Even the Navi Mumbai police gets list of people indulging in this crime in their jurisdiction. “For some time I was happy that Navi Mumbai never figured in this notorious list but recently I got names of 38 people who are on the list and the age profile of these people are between 18 to 34 years. Most of these are students.” He warned the youth, “Cyber world is crazy and you must use it with wisdom.”
“INTERNET IS MAKING YOUTH FRUSTRATED, UNHAPPY AND LOW ON SELF ESTEEM”
“When I went for my first interview, I remember my father telling me that my tie was tied wrong and he helped me wear it the right way,” its these interactions, feedback and precious ‘family moments’ that the internet has snatched from the youth,” said Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar adding that, it also leads to youth being “frustrated, irritated, low on self-esteem and blaming parents for everything.”
“SELFIE CULTURE IS A SELFISH CULTURE”
Selfies were never a problem when they first started gaining popularity but now that social media is a part of our daily lives, there have been more notable cases of selfie obsession gone wrong. “I call the selfie culture as selfish culture,” the police commissioner told the youth. I urge you to detox yourself by staying off your phones and tablets for 24 hours.”
WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO?
For those who can understand the language, hear the entire speech of the Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar to begin with.
Here are other tips from experts on what parents can do :
• Curtail you own consumption first. It’s up to parents to set a good example of what healthy computer usage looks like.
• Establish technology-free zones in the house and technology-free hours when no one uses the phone.
• Give them your full attention until they’re out the door for school, tuitions or activities.
• Kids need to know that you are available to help them with their problems, talk about their day, or give them a reality check.
• Also for younger kinds, parents must delay the age of first use as much as possible for Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.
• Don’t spy in your kids phones. Build trust.
• Involve kids in activities they are good at to build on their self esteem. That most of these activities also involve spending time interacting with peers face-to-face is just the icing on the cake.
#ZebaWarsia – NMTV News.