NEW DELHI: Cybercrimes committed against children increased by more than 400% in 2020 compared to 2019, the latest figures issued by the National Crime Records Bureau show. The majority of such offences involved the publication or transmission of materials depicting children engaging in sexually explicit acts.
The top five states reporting cybercrime against minors are Uttar Pradesh (170), Karnataka (144), Maharashtra (137), Kerala (107) and Odisha (71).
Among the 842 occurrences of online offences, 738 involved the publication or transmission of materials depicting children in sexually explicit acts.
According to NCRB 2020 data, there has been a substantial increase (over 400 percent) in cybercrimes (recorded under the Information Technology Act) committed against children in compared to the previous year.
In 2019, 164 cases of cybercrime against children were reported, whereas in 2018, 117 cases of cybercrime against children were perpetrated, and 79 such cases were registered in 2017.
Even while the number of cybercrime incidents committed against minors is expected to remain low in 2020, the increase from 2019 is concerning.
Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY-Child Rights and You, said while spending more time on the internet for accessing education and other communication purposes, children have also become more vulnerable to multiple risks, particularly in the contexts of online sexual abuse, grooming or sexual solicitation, sexting, exposure to pornography, production and circulation of child sexual abuse material, cyber-bullying, online harassment and cyber-victimisation, and many other privacy-related risks.
“While there is little evidence to ascertain the scale of the impact of the epidemic containment measures on online abuse and exploitation of children, closure of schools and children’s increased exposure to the online space may have had serious implications on the increased online risks experienced by them,” she added.
During the Covid pandemic, initiatives to control the spread of the pandemic resulted in school closures and a shift to virtual learning settings. Children also spend more time online for amusement, socialising, and learning, despite being unaware of any potential concerns.
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