The adversity of virtual presence during childhood by Yamika Khanna

Indian households have primarily been ignorant towards the necessity of speaking about sexual health, protection and awareness. This closed mentality in order to avoid being indulged in an awkward conversation as conceived by the elders often becomes the depriving force of protection that could have gaurded the children and made them aware of their rights as well as what constitutes as sexual abuse.
The 21st century children have been immensely exposed to the world due to the cyber evolution and thus, face a threat in a form that their predecessors never faced. With an unprecedented rise in exposure comes spike in cases of cyber bullying especially of children who are often unaware of such activities and are therefore incapable of accessing the correct help and remedies for the same.
Cyber-bullying is the spreading of embarrassing, humiliating, harassing, or damaging communication via the internet or via cell phones by text or picture messages.
The most crucial awareness mechanism with regard to cyber abuse and bullying can be created by parents and other family members by building a safe space to talk and developing confidence of child towards parents. This can essentially done by overcoming the taboo that surrounds conversations involving sexual awareness, bodily awareness and cyber safety mechanisms. Parents should participate in active communication methods that involves explaining a child the sexual changes that a child will undergo during puberty, differentiating between good and bad touch, talk about the 4P’s – privacy, predators, pornography, pop-ups.
The urgent need of breaking the barrier of taboo between parents and children and bringing about a change in the orthodox upbringing is the most effective way to curbe cyber abuse and bullying and protect the children on the cyber space.

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