Where are we heading? By Girish Sharma

The days are gone when children were taught alphabets, poems by the parents but today the source of education is internet. Every day in the headlines we see the increasing numbers of child sexual abuse. Online Sexual exploitation most commonly includes live streaming, consuming child sexual abuse material, blackmailing children for sexual purposes. Child sexual abuse often occurs with other forms of abuse or neglect in the family environment in which they have not experienced much family or emotional support. Lack of communication between parents and children force children to seek answers to the questions which they are embarrassed to ask from their parents from the internet. In this modern age of technology children have curiosity to know everything at a very early age be it sex. They end up getting answers from the pornography websites in which they fall as a prey to the monstrous abusers. At the age of below 18, children lack of knowledge of what is good or what is bad for them. This is the clear result of loopholes in our Indian education system where elderly people whether they are parents or teachers are to discuss about sex and abuse with children.

In pornography websites like Pornhub it’s not difficult for a child to explore or enter in a live stream, the only criteria to enter in live stream is just clicking the tab validating that the person is above 18. It’s not a tough job for a child to just click on to that tab and enter. Children sometimes end up seeing what is not right for them at that age and also being forced to show or sending explicit images. The online sexual abuse does not only take place on pornography websites, but famous social media websites like Facebook. These days every child is on Facebook even 9-10 years of children have their account. In these social media sites, abuser usually exploits through a fake account even though behind the screen person is known to the child. The person through fake account engage in friendship, familiarise himself with the child and later in exchanging and asking for inappropriate pictures through blackmailing, emotional and mental torturing. In these cases, a child cannot even consult his parents as child doesn’t have confidence if he will be believed or not, or his parents will be harmed if he tells anybody. In the current situation where India is competing against deadly virus and everyone is locked inside their homes, there is a rise in child sexual abuse behind the close doors.

In 95% of the cases abuser is known or is very close to the child. There is subsequent rise in complaints to 1098 against child abuse. Since, everyone is locked inside the usage of internet has shot up and subsequently there is 200% spike in searches for videos showing children bleeding, choking, tortured or in pain. There is 95% increase in consumption of child pornography as per the leading pornography website Pornhub. Its is heinous to know that the child is not even safe inside his home in close vicinity of his parents. In India the leading pornography websites are not accessible but still it is very easy to watch absurd content by using Virtual Private Network, one can easily download VPNs from Play store and access everything. The only solution to this is strong communication between parent and child, awareness to child what is good or bad, clear check by parents what child is exploring online. The platforms like Pornhub and other leading websites should clearly examine and remove such crimes and help the concerned agencies to track the people as the activity is illegal and strict punishment should be given.

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