The Union Home Ministry has introduced a booklet on cyber safety for teenagers, which aim to address their excessive use of smartphones, smart gadgets, social media, online gaming, and fake news.

The 38-page booklet on cyber security was titled, “A Handbook for Students on Cyber Safety” will also deal with the problems related to cyber grooming, cyber bullying, and email frauds.

On incident of killing due to fake news, the booklet is published only in the English version, cautions: “Fake news and hoax messages spread like wildfire on social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat). It may create law 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.”

Over 30 people, in the month of May and June, were killed after the deliberate circulation of fake posts that spread on social media platforms. Following which, the government was interrupted by the Supreme court in September 2018 to develop a Group of Ministers (GoM) led by Rajnath Singh to look into how these sorts of incidents can be eliminated.

Last year, the Home Ministry has set up a Cyber and Information Security division to evaluate the rapid growth of cyber threats and cyber crimes, which now aims to introduce the cyber safety handbooks in schools as a component in the school curriculum.

As per the reports of Indian Computer Response Team (CERT-In), more than 53000 cases related to cyber safety incidents were enlisted in Indian in the year 2017, while 1785 debit and credit cards frauds were recorded, which causes a loss of Rs. 71.48 crore last year.

The booklet reads, “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… 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 information completely.”

Over social engineering, the booklet said that it is a technique that is used by cyber criminals to get one’s confidence and seek information.”Depending on 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.”

The handbook has also explained various sorts of cyber crimes like job fraud, identity theft, email spoofing and ways to overcome them. It will advise the teenagers against accepting friend requests of unknown people on social media and carry on the conversation with them.

The booklet also reads, “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 software or apps like dating app, online games from unknown sources.”

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