The erstwhile IT capital of India is soon turning to be the cyber-crime capital for children in the country. According to the latest NCRB report, Karnataka has seen a growth of whooping 1340 percentage of cyber-crimes committed against children. In Bangalore only, 81 cases of the crime were recorded in 2020 against 8 in 2019.
In 2020 alone 144 cases were registered in Karnataka against 10 cases in 2019 out of which 81 cases were from Bangalore, the highest among all the other metropolitan cities. 12 cases from Mumbai, 4 instances from Chennai and 2 from Hyderabad were recorded during the same period, while zero cases from Kolkata and negligible from Delhi were accounted for during this period.
Also, Bangalore is nose ahead in the ‘Publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act’ segment with 59 cases been recorded in 2020 as against no cases under this vertical in 2019.
The COVID pandemic has forced our lives indoors and in the absence of school, children are becoming more heavily dependent on cyber support. With the digital divide coming into play, emboldened with the need of education, digital intervention has been the mainstay over the last year and half. This increased cyber usage, is resulting in more number of crimes as projected by the NCRB report.
The report shows that over the last one year, India has reported around 413 percent increase in the instances of cyber-crimes against children. Around 842 cases were recorded over the last year against 164 cases in 2019. Tamil Nadu follows Karnataka with 29 cases and Andhra Pradesh at 15 cases respectively. This when put in contrast to Karnataka, the numbers reflect a perturbing trend.
“We feel stricter surveillance is required to address this growing concern. We at CRY feel the need to adapt to the digital intervention. However, this should not overshadow the importance of visiting schools. The fact that most of the children staying at home has a part to play in this growing and worrying trend. Within the framework of CRY, our digital intervention is intermingled with awareness in an effort to take cautious step to the digital future for children and reduce their vulnerable count in these crimes,” said John Roberts, General Manager, Development Support, CRY (South)
According to the Household Social Consumption: Education (2017-18) Survey NSS 75th Round, in rural Karnataka, only 2 percent of the population have computer with 8.3 percent of them having internet facility. This number grows drastically to 33.5 percentage of urban people having the same. With this space growing fast, if no corrective measure are brought, then the children will become increasingly vulnerable even in the cyber space.
Going digital is the future. The country and the children are heading into a space that has is both a boon and bane. This trend and figure requires vigilance, course corrections along with awareness to stem this worrying trend.