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CBSE Introduces A Handbook On Cyber Safety For Students Which Talks About Revenge Porn And Consent. This Was Needed

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The recent Bois Locker Room controversy has forced us to rethink what we share on the internet. It is infuriating that young girls and women have to live in constant fear of their pictures getting misused, shared in vulgar group chats and circulated without their consent. With this recent incident, the anxiety around this issue has only increased. We share so much of our lives on social media. Despite taking all the necessary precautions, the world of online sharing comes wrought with mines and you never really know if what you’re doing is okay, scary or just a simple way to feel closer to someone you love.  The lines are often blurry, and we may not always know how to protect ourselves against online predators and abusers.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has taken a step towards making sure that students are being safe on the internet. They shared a cyber safety handbook with schools for students of classes 9 to 12 that details guidelines, do’s and don’t’s, and other necessary information for children as well as parents.

“Students must learn to set limits to their online friendships as well as online communication with real life friends. There has to be a limit to what they share or exchange in terms of written words, photographs or videos. They must remember that, once online, they may not be able to control who will actually see it, prevent breach of trust and misuse and potential risk and harm to their person and reputation.” a senior board official said. “Teenagers need to understand gender relations. Boys must learn to interact with girls on equal terms and respect them and their desires as those of human beings, not simply as objects of respect or desires.”

The official also elaborated on the importance of consent, and how pictures and videos should not be shared without the permission of the person who has sent them. The handbook talks about revenge pornography, which has become a concerning issue today. “Teenagers in the age group of 14 to 18 years are the worst victims of revenge porn as well as the perpetrators themselves, which is a matter of concern. Some teenage students who have been in a relationship and end it find their explicit photographs circulated on social media platforms. When such images go viral, students are often harassed and bullied by their peers – branded with insult and in the end, isolated.” the handbook says.

However, the handbook is only a basic step and like everything in our country, suggest abstinence instead of measures of avoid misuse even if you do indulge in it. Yes, this is a cultural issue but surely we could do better in explaining how to go about it, instead of asking teenagers with raging hormones to simply, well, ‘not do it.’

During the lockdown, when most aspects of our lives have shifted to online platforms, these cyber safety norms apply even more. This step will go a long way in ensuring that young people are aware of how they can tackle cyber crime, be it bullying, sexual harassment, revenge porn, or anything else.

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