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When Protectors Turn Into Violators

By Tulip Sinha

There have been numerous instances across the world where the privacy of a child is violated by the people who are in positions to protect the child. In playschools, crèche and nurseries, instances are aplenty where privacy of a child is violated and unfortunately, owing to poor understanding of the concept and no knowledge of the availability of legal remedies, the matter is brushed aside. When privacy violations cross certain limits, the trauma affects the child’s life and often stays for the rest of the child’s life.

In such school nurseries, crèche and playschools, it is often the staff that perpetrates such violations owing to access to children, to resources and ‘authority’ to handle and tackle children. With the flood of cheap smartphones today, almost everyone, at least every adult now has a smartphone that he/she actively uses. Smartphones and phone cameras are the easiest tool used by perpetrators that violate privacy of individuals and children specifically.Camera phones, CCTV cameras and cameras in general are used by perpetrators to violate privacy of children in their space of trust.

Children are at risk at every moment of their presence in these learning centres. The risks are present when children are in the classrooms, go to washrooms, commute to and from schools. Despite the increase in crimes against children and specific guidelines for installation of CCTV cameras in the school premises and in classrooms, many schools are lagging behind. In the absence of any regulation for pre-primary schools, the is neither any enforcement not compliance pressure on playschools, etc. to install CCTV cameras for the safety of the children.

This greatly increases the risks of perpetrators clicking pictures or making videos of innocent children in classrooms, even toilets. There have been several instances in playschools around the country, and the world, where heling staff or cleaner, even teacher have violated privacy of unassuming children by clicking videos and pictures.

In fact, there have been several cases where the perpetrators have misused CCTV footage to their advantage by grabbing images and videos of children from the CCTV footage, owing to lack of security and proper measures deciding who gets access to such footage.

Similarly, police clearance and verification of the employees of schools are often not done as laid down by law. So, expecting unregulated pre-primary nurseries, tuition classes and crèches to go through the time-consuming process of getting police verification done of their staff and teachers is foolhardy.

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