TODAY -

Monitoring usage: The mother of all preventive strategies

Varun Kapoor *



As the usage of internet is increasing so are the risks and threats associated with it. It is estimated that almost 46 Crore people in India use the internet today. That is the second spot in the world only after China. India overtook the United States in the number of internet users only this year. Internet penetration in India is 34.8% - that means almost 35% of Indians use the internet today. That is a huge number!

In one years’ time the number of users has jumped up from 35 crore to 46 crore, that is a 31.5% increase in merely one year! This is an immense change and this will continue over the years to follow at a much more enhanced rate – till the entire country is engulfed in this internet usage cloud!

It is further estimated that 37% of users in India are in the age group of 15-24 years and another 38% are in the age group of 25-34 years. Hence the youth brigade make up a hefty 75% of internet users in India. It is these youth who are prone to make the greatest mistakes while using this cyber space and thus open themselves up to the greatest dangers.

Why is that so? It is because of certain traits inherent in the youth – spirit of adventure, recklessness, risk taking ability etc, to name a few.

Thus it is imperative that in addition to motivating the society and the youth in particular, to take to the digital world through the enhanced use of the internet – it is also desirable to work out far reaching and well planned strategies to secure them in this space in a more effective manner.

Strategies can be many – but none better and more effective than severe, pervasive and regular monitoring of usage especially for the children and the youth. Who has to carry out such monitoring – it is none other than parents, teachers and elders.

They cannot and should not shirk this responsibility and let their children and youth do whatever and whenever they like in the cyber space driven by the internet. How this monitoring is to be done is left to the concerned parent or elder to work out for themselves, but a few suggestions and ideas are outlined below.

A small fact that must be monitored and rigorously applied is the age of doing things in the cyber world. It must be known the recommended age for doing various things on the internet. If the seniors and parents cannot decide the age bracket that they need to follow for their children on various sites then they can go by the minimum age recommended by the sites themselves.

The social networking giant Facebook has set a minimum age of 13 years; social messenger service WhatsApp has set the minimum age as 16 years & the email service Gmail has a minimum age of 18 years. These age limits should be rigorously applied while monitoring the activities of the children and youth on the internet.

More so if an individual of an age less than the recommended age is creating his account in the above services, then he must be putting a wrong age in the agreement, otherwise the account will not be created. That in itself is a crime as it is both impersonation and breach of contract. The first is a criminal offence and the second a civil offence.

The third aspect of monitoring is – reviewing the content that is being viewed by the child or adolescent. This can be ensured by periodic checking of the device of the child or adolescent. This can be done by informing the person, that he needs to get his devise monitored by the parent and that the parent can do this monitoring at any time – announced or unannounced.

Sometimes is good just too suddenly walk into the room where the offspring is doing the net and see for yourself what he/she is up to. That will ensure that the parent knows the content being used or viewed at the same time it will act as a deterrent for the offspring, as he/she will know that the parent can walk in any time and any place.

Another procedure for clandestine content monitoring is the use of screen sharing software, like Team Viewer, Meeting Dashboard etc. This software can be put in the child’s device before being given to them and thus the parent can at anytime activate his/her own software and get an exact fix of what the child is viewing or doing in the cyber space.

A parent can also use specially designed Apps to block certain content on their devices before letting their children or teens use them. Such Apps can be used to block harmful content that is available on the net and which can be detrimental to minors and teens.

One such free software has been developed by us at the PRTS Indore and it has been named “BE SMART”. This software can be downloaded free from the site www.prts-mppolice.nic.in at any time. Once installed it will block at least 30,000 known porn, malicious & Phishing sites. Other such Apps may also be available and can and must be used for ensuring safe, secure and hygienic use of the cyber space by our children.

Another important aspect of monitoring usage is that the parents and elders ensure that their devices are not secretly used by their minor offspring’s without proper control. They may just pick up the device of the elders and use it without the knowledge of the person concerned.

This can be best checked by activating password protection facility for accessing the device. This should be switched on and the password should not in any circumstance be shared with the child or minor. This will prevent secret misuse of the device.

Thus it is clear that if we as parents and elders of the society are to ensure that the cyber space is used safely and hygienically by the Gen Next – then we have to be alert and aware ourselves and have to ensure timely, justly, rigorous and intelligent monitoring of the internet activities of our children, teens, adolescents and minors.


[Views expressed in the column are of the author himself]


* Varun Kapoor wrote this article for The Sangai Express
Varun Kapoor is ADG Narcotics & PRTS Indore, MP
This article was webcasted on June 28, 2018.



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