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They’re Young and Vulnerable

By Mamta Gupta

The fact that they are too young to use networking sites or apps means that they will not be active themselves but it also means they won’t have a say in someone clicking their pictures or videos and uploading on social media without ‘their’ consent or that of their parents or guardians. Not to mention that pre-primary age group children are now getting access to smartphones and social media, albeit through their parents’ or family members’ profiles, as parents often hand over their phones to keep their children engaged.
The law on protection of privacy of children in terms of posting content on social media is weak
The law on protection of privacy of children in terms of posting content on social media is weak. Unless a parent or guardian explicitly denies permission and raises objection to such content of their child or ward put on social media, there is nothing in law that prevents such activity by itself.
That is the reason why online predators who eye unassuming parents posting ‘happy’ pictures and those of their family and children on social media find it very easy to find their targets online.

People in general are sharing too much information today on social networking sites which is clearly avoidable and not advisable. If the information relates to themselves, they may be able to understand and tackle the risks involved. Although several new cases surface everyday where adults, even educated men and women fall victim to online predators. Parents put all kinds of ‘dangerous’ details on their social media platforms – the school their child is attending, places they visit, vacation itineraries, events the child or family is going to participate in, travel plans, family details and pictures, etc.

All this information that an unsuspecting parent divulges is the perfect fodder for an online predator. These predators are always fishing for such information, images and videos. And they can do a lot more with that information that one can imagine. The predator can be present at the specific event, can walk up to the child’s school and befriend the child using other details of family members and their lives, posted online.

There is nothing people don’t talk about on social media – their birthday, name of spouse, parents’ name, hometown, pet’s name and details, their favourites, etc. All this information can also be used by cyber predators to get access to platforms that house sensitive information such as a child’s school records, medical records, private images and videos and portals that can be used for identity theft also.

One must understand that smaller, innocuous details shared over a long period of time can be used by online stalkers and predators to draw a big picture and infer information that you have not even posted online. In case of adults, such details are often used for hacking as they reveal answers to secret questions, email passwords, etc.

Additionally, not just actively putting live content, pictures and images but also commenting on other people’s (friend’s) posts reveal a lot of information and can easily be misused.

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