At a time when cyber bullying has become a menace, the ministry of electronics and information technology is preparing a curriculum on the same to be incorporated in the Central Board of Secondary Education’s syllabus.
The content, to be also incorporated in other school books, is targeted at children aged between eight to ten years.
This comes in the backdrop of the government stepping up its cyber security efforts.
“We have set up a committee which is working on the content for cyber security space, which will inform children on how to use internet space. It will also prescribe Do’s and Don’ts while accessing internet. Children are vulnerable to cyber bullying,” said Ajay Kumar, additional secretary, ministry of electronics and information technology.
This assumes importance given the government’s plans to offer e-governance services and also ensure secure implementation of Digital India initiatives across the country. With the rapid increase in number of Internet users in India, there is need for safe cyberspace. The number of Internet users in the country stood at 371 million at the end of June this year.
The idea is to create awareness. As part of the strategy, once the content is ready, the discussions with ministry of human resource development will be initiated to include the content in CBSE textbooks and other school boards curriculum.
“The children should be aware of proper way of using cyber space. Just like, we have computer education in school curriculum, we can also have similar content on cyber space and safety. Children should know where to draw the line while accessing internet,” Kumar said.
Activists believe that there is a growing need to address the issue.
Parry Aaftab, a US-based cyber lawyer who founded internet safety organisation WiredSafety, says cyberbullying is when one young person uses digital technology as a weapon to hurt another and it has resulted in too many cases of suicide, self-harm and destroyed lives.
She recently announced setting up a non-government organisation (NGO) in India to address cyber bullying amongst kids.
The non-profit body will also help in educating school children and their parents to address cyber bullying. The NGO—Cybersafety India, the first national cyber safety trust in India will help parents, schools and students, as well as law enforcement, policymakers and others to stay secure in the digital world.
“The programs will be designed completely for India as the situation here is completely different,” Aftab said.
This also comes at a time when the Indian consumers are trading their personal information in exchange for free mobile apps exposing themselves to privacy risks, according to Norton Mobile Survey conducted by software firm Symantec.
“Porn is a big problem. People download porn from a local store for as low as Rs.10 and many a times, children discover porn accidentally while researching for their projects,” Aftab said.
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