Safe internet for children
Bangladesh is marching at a faster pace in the fast changing world keeping the tempo towards the arena of ICT and digitization being privileged of the availability of internet technology and open social media communications. Digital technology, internet, social networking, ICT tools and digitization- these unique worlds have surprisingly been getting familiar to the day-to-day life execution of the people of Bangladesh over the last decade.
Internet based online platforms and free social media have brought a set of positive changes in the attitude, thinking process and daily activities of the common folks in the country. Due to easy access to internet technology, the behavioural pattern of many has been entangled with previously unseen negativity, socially unwanted and odd behaviours. Therefore, internet technology has surely appeared as the mixed blessing for many of us.
There are several risk factors of using online platforms through the internet for children. We have to admit that every child has the right to avail sufficient protection and safety, especially when they access different necessary platforms using the internet. It is true indeed; many children often become victims of unsafe use of internet technology due to lack of adequate protection measures.
Unscrupulous and miscreant folks have gradually been posing a serious threat of defamation, bullying and harassment to the children irrespective of sex through various online platforms associated with internet like- Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Imo, Viber, Twitter, Instagram and so forth. Disregarding the periphery of personal secrecy and safety, offenders often lead the life of children into unwanted circumstances. In most of the cases, the evildoers use slang language, send body shaming text, make mockery, poking, spitting and swearing as well as expose indecent and impolite gestures to the children. By sending vulgar texts and images, proposing for unwanted affairs, sharing nude contents- these heinous blackguards instigate the children to feel intolerable and unadjusted.
For sure, an organized gang of skilled and unified predators is usually involved in these anti-social activities. They make children vulnerable, unsafe and drive them to the huge security threat. According to a survey conducted by UNICEF discloses that among 1481 child participants, 40% boys and 24% girl children have experienced cyber bullying in a rampant manner. 19% children have received such types of text messages which cannot be meant for age appropriate in any way.
The issue of internet security and cyber offence concerning children has to be investigated keenly. Required actions have to be taken as early as possible by the respective law and order maintaining agencies. Considering the gravity of offence, with a view to taking faster and immediate action, there should be a dedicated special cell run by the law and security agencies. The issue of cyber bullying along with a precise and definite definition should be included in the Digital Security Act-2018 for the sake of ensuring safe internet access for children.
The future of the country will certainly remain unsafe until the new generations feel safe. Therefore, a strong protection system for children in case of internet use must be ensured. To comply with safe use of the internet and its protection measures, academic lessons based on internet technology have to be scripted in textbooks for making children further conscious. Publication of comical books with a view to displaying safe use of the internet for children may be annexed in this regard. Teachers who will educate kids have to be satisfactorily familiar with the concept of internet technology, its uses and effects. They have to be skilled enough while dealing with this job of paramount importance.
A dedicated helpline should be operated in order to respond immediately to address the cases related to online security for children. Identified offenders have to be brought under exemplary punishment through a closer investigation and by executing the existing Pornography Control Act-2012 as well as the Digital Security Act-2018.
To remain far away from all negativity induced by internet technology is a shared responsibility of all. We have to boycott these marked social miscreants. It must be kept in mind that this dirty social phenomenon as well as tendency of doing cyber offences based on the internet has not emerged in the society suddenly in a single day. Rather, there are some other issues which are closely related to these unwanted social behaviours. So, issues related to provoking unsafe behaviours of offenders have to be uprooted befittingly with an integral effort.
Lack of social and family values, unemployment, social chaos, degradation, disorder and anarchy associated with the lack of proper measures this growing threat for the kids has remained an increasing trend over the time. Therefore, along with executing laws, practice of family and social values should be adapted properly.
Only the positive impact of internet technology is desired as well as welcomed by us. All the negativity centering the internet is unwelcomed, undesirable and of course rejected. For this, while using internet technology or being connected with online platforms, we have to exert maturity, value based-conscience, shared responsibility, perfect acumen and sensitivity as well.
Very often children are used to making mistakes. Therefore, we have to make sure that they are closed during online operations so that we can supervise their activities. By the way, we have to monitor our children's media behaviors by using online activity filtering software. Children are the source of sacred beauty, lucid happiness and grand tranquility. Their smooth growth and development in a serene and secured atmosphere is always a prime concern. Therefore, we the parents, hope to have an abode more loveable and blissful for our beloved children in the days to come.
The writer is a teaching professional and academic coordinator for kids
Indian farmers challenge return of �Company Raj�
The ongoing siege of the national capital New Delhi by hundreds of thousands of farmers represents, perhaps, the biggest revolt against 'Company Raj' since India's First War of Independence way back in 1857. While a century and half ago it was the rapacious British East India Company that was the target of the Indian masses this time their ire today is explicitly directed at the similarly predatory empires of the Ambanis and Adanis.
If the movement is successful it could help unmask the true nature of power wielded by unelected business elites in the country today beyond the colourful fa�ade of parliaments, political parties and media propaganda.
The immediate spark that has inflamed the peasantry, mostly from Punjab and Haryana but also from other states bordering Delhi, is the enactment of three farming related laws, that ease and formalize the corporate takeover of Indian agriculture. The laws, pushed through using the Narendra Modi regime's brute majority in parliament, do away with guaranteed minimum prices for farm products, allow hoarding of agricultural commodities and facilitate entry of agribusinesses in the farming sector. Revealing their dubious intentions, the laws also block aggrieved farmers from approaching the courts for redressal.
The Ambani and Adani groups in particular are expected to be the main beneficiaries of these new laws. Both groups have grown immensely wealthy in recent decades by manipulating policies through their influence over the Indian political class to establish monopoly control over different sectors, ranging from telecom and retail trading to petroleum and infrastructure.
In the backdrop of the farmers agitation, that is demanding the scrapping of these farm laws, is discontent fuelled by nearly three decades of liberalization of the Indian economy, that has wrought tectonic changes in how wealth is created and distributed nationally. Agriculture has been the biggest casualty of the aggressive rolling back of state investments and deregulation of markets by successive governments since the early nineties, under pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Though over 60 per cent of India's population still lives in the countryside the agricultural sector's share in the country's GDP has dropped to just 16.5 per cent in 2019 . Farm incomes have remained static or have been on the decline with the average income of a farming family being only 20,000 rupees a year in 17 states of India, much lower than that of many professions in the urban services sector.
For example, over the last four decades, while the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat has seen an increase of just 19 times the basic pay of government employees has gone up by 120 to 150 times; of university/college professors by 150 to 170 times, of school teachers by 280 to 320 times. Steeped in debt and denied avenues for upward mobility more than 330,000 farmers have committed suicide in India just in the past two decades alone, which works out to roughly over 12,000 farmers a year or 33 every day. Millions of small farmers and agricultural labour have also had to migrate to urban areas to work in dirty and dangerous industries for very low wages in order to survive.
The last few decades have further seen the unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of tiny Indian corporate elite. The top 10 per cent of the Indian population today holds 77 per cent of the total national wealth with 73 per cent of all wealth generated in 2017 going to the richest 1 per cent.
What this has really meant is big corporate houses get the power to buy up not just rival businesses at will but also politicians, bureaucrats and the media- in other words the entire Indian state machinery itself. The wilful distortion of national policies to suit corporate interests, as obvious in the case of the farm bills, has resulted in the loot of national resources and the public exchequer on an unprecedented scale, not witnessed since the times of the rule by the East India Company.
For example, over the past eight years, 12 nationalised banks have written off a massive of Rs 6.32 lakh crore of bad loans, a significant portion of this to big corporate defaulters with borrowings of Rs100 crore and above. In the past four years alone, these 12 public sector banks wrote off bad loans amounting to Rs 4.95 lakh crore, money that should have been used for public welfare, particularly in rural India vast parts of which still have little access to healthcare, education or basic amenities.
While such open theft of public funds indicates how India has become a kleptocracy today, even worse is the long-term damage to the Indian economy and polity done by distortion of policies under corporate influence. For decades now, successive Indian governments and state agencies have twisted laws and regulatory mechanisms to help their favourite donors from the corporate world to establish monopoly control over everything from telecom frequencies to mineral deposits, without care for national interests or rights of ordinary citizens.
The corporate-politician nexus has been openly formalized in recent years through the introduction of the Electoral Bonds scheme by the Narendra Modi regime in 2017 which allows companies to anonymously donate any amount of money to political parties. This has meant the subversion of Indian democracy itself, as politicians serve as nothing more than glorified commission agents or 'adhatiyas' of the moneyed, without concern for those who elected them.
What is historically unique about the current farmers agitation is its singular focus on such unchecked dominance of a handful of large corporations over all aspects of the Indian economy. By challenging the corporate invasion of the agricultural sector the farmers are today going beyond protecting their interests alone and defending the Constitutional guarantee of equal rights and opportunities for all Indians.
Just as in the case of the country's First War of Independence though, success of the farmer's revolt will depend crucially on whether other sections of Indian society join this valiant fight or remain indifferent. Failure could mean the country itself is hijacked to a time when only a single corporation and its agents ruled the country, a return to the hated 'Company Raj'.
Satya Sagar is a journalist