Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Growing reliance on online teaching has been one of the major fallouts of corona pandemic. Beginning from the first quarter of 2020, online teaching continues to be the mainstay of education. While that has admittedly helped the students to keep in touch with academics while staying at home, it also exposed them to ills of social media.
Even children, especially girls, who were not interested in social media, had to start using smart phones, laptops etc to access internet for their studies. Cyber bullies, paedophiles and perverts of all descriptions took full advantage of the situation.
A mother-daughter duo from the state was pushed to verge of committing suicide by a cybercriminal. Mahima (name changed), a student of grade nine, got addicted to social media while attending online classes. The 14-year-old came in contact with 24-year-old Delhi resident on social media. The man managed to win Mahima's confidence and she began sharing details of her personal life with him.
Mahima told him that her parents did not allow her to use smart phone beyond her hours of study and that she was “very disturbed” due to it. The man expressed sympathies and managed to convince Mahima that he was her well-wisher.
Then, he laid a trap. He asked Mahima to send her pictures to him - first of her face and then of her entire body. Mahima obliged. Next, the man asked her to send her photograph in nude. By that time, Mahima was completely under the spell of the man and after some reluctance, she sent her nude photograph to him.
One night, when Mahima was chatting with the man, her parents asked her to terminate the conversation. She refused. Mahima's mother snatched the phone from her and warned the man against talking to her daughter. On another occasion, Mahima's father also scolded the man.
Incensed, the man posted the nude photograph of Mahima, along with her name and telephone number on a social media platform. That brought a torrent of phone calls from unknown persons to Mahima and her mother.
It disturbed the mother-daughter to the extent that they decided to end their life. Brajesh Chauhan, member, MP Commission for Protection of Child Rights, was apprised of the case by a close friend of family. "At that time, the entire country was under lockdown and MP Police was not in a position to conduct raids in Delhi. At the request of the state police, personnel from Delhi police visited the man's residence only to discover that he had escaped to his native state Assam.
It was after several efforts that Commission could persuade social media platform to remove Mahima’s nude pictures. The accused is yet to be caught.
Richa Jain, a DSP in the cyber cell of the MP police, said they receive at least 15-20 similar complaints every month. “In January-August this year, we registered 160 complaints of such nature. Most complaints come through e-filing portal of police," she said.
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