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Credits: India Today

With cyber crime and related problems increasing steadily in the age of technology, the Union Home Ministry has decided to launch a booklet for teenagers and students to inform them about different aspects of cyber safety.

The 38-page booklet, titled A Handbook for Students on Cyber Safety’, deals with the problems of fake news, cyber bullying, cyber grooming and email fraud. It also addresses their increased use of smartphones, gadgets, online gaming, social media and fake news.

The booklet is published only in English for now.

Why do students need a guidebook for cyber awareness?

According to the Indian Computer Response Team (CERT-In), over 53,000 cases of cyber security incidents were reported in 201 in India, while 1,85 credit or debit cards frauds were recorded, causing a loss of Rs 1.48 crore last year.

Fake news is a major problem in India now with more than 30 people lynched after the circulation of fake posts spreading on social media platforms, mostly in May and June. Following this, the government, prodded by the Supreme Court, in September 2018 set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Rajnath Singh to look into how these incidents can be checked.

Because teens and adolescents are massive of social media, they are vulnerable to cyber crime, fake news, and email frauds. Thus, they need specialised guidance to protect themselves from such activities.

7 THINGS THE BOOKLET FOR TEENS :

1. As per the booklet, cyber grooming is growing as one of the major cyber threats faced by children and teenagers. It is a practice where someone builds an emotional bond with children through social media or messaging platforms with an objective of gaining their trust for sexually abusing and exploiting them.

2. “More and more children invest time online to play games, make friends and share updates. Details shared on internet stay online forever as it is extremely difficult to delete the completely,” the booklet added.

3. On incidents of lynching due to fake news, the booklet cautions: “Fake news and hoax messages spread like wildfire on social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat). It may create and order problem and may end up causing loss of life in a few cases. Before forwarding or sharing any message on social media or messaging app, check it on other sources also to confirm its authenticity.”

4. Social engineering, the booklet says, is a technique used by cyber criminals to gain one’s confidence to get information. “Depending upon what you like most, a cyber criminal may try to interact with you for information. Suppose you like to play online games, an impersonator behaves like another child and invites you to talk to him and share information.”

5. The booklet also explains various kinds of cyber crimes like identity theft, job fraud, email spoofing and how children can overcome them.

6. It advises teenagers against accepting friend requests from unknown people on social media.

7. “As a thumb rule, only add people online whom you know offline, asking them never to share personal information like date of birth, address, phone number on social media and not install unwanted or apps like dating app, online games from unknown sources,” says the booklet.

The Home Ministry last year set up a Cyber and Information Security division to check the rapid growth of cyber crimes and cyber threats. It now aims to introduce the cyber crime handbook in schools as a component of the school curriculum.

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