The perils of the internet

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Oct 8 2012, 08:19am hrs
Corporate social responsibility is passe, cyber social responsibility is the in thing, feels Trend Micro. As one of the leading IT security solution providers, Trend Micro has recognised their responsibility towards the society and more so towards todays growing internet usage by children for education. In light of the same, they have initiated a pan India activity to reach to the school children to educate them about safe internet usage and behaviour.

Trend Micro officials reckon that internet has become a necessity, not only for adults, but also for children. Children increasingly rely on the internet and no one can monitor their online activity real-time. Material that is pornographic, violent, self-destructive (eating disorders, substance abuse, etc), inaccurate, or extreme are considered unsuitable for children. Moreover, unwanted contact, which comes in two formsonline grooming and cyber-bullying is another threat that parents should be aware of.

Trend Micros Internet Safety for Kids and Family (ISFK) programme is one of the most successful initiatives running in developed countries, such as Japan, America, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan etc. ISKF does this through a global employee volunteer programme, grants and donations to eligible organisations, partnerships with organisations working to protect youth, educational programmes, and a robust series of online tips and solutions for parents, educators, and youth.

In India, Trend Micro is approaching schools for the training programme and presentation to both students and teachers on how to use internet safely for education purpose. As part of this exercise, their technical teams go to schools and hold extensive coaching programmes. As of now, they have already tied up with more than 15-20 leading schools across Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore and are expanding further to other cities. They aim to cover minimum of 500 schools under this programme.

The primary purpose of our reaching to schools is to create awareness and educate children about the pitfalls of internet and how to be careful and use it effectively. This programme is one of the first steps we have taken towards making the children and family use internet albeit safely and securely for their education purpose, affirms Amit Nath, country manager, India & SAARC, Trend Micro. We have taken up this initiative globally to educate them how to use internet safely and securely, he adds.

Today, with the increasing cases of cyber bullying, identity thefts, loss of personal data, apart from the targeted attacks by cyber criminals makes internet a potentially an unsafe zone if not used properly and cautiously. In such scenarioschildren normally fall prey to cyber gimmicks by these criminals. For instance, a child can become a victim due to curiosity and may click on a suspicious link unknowingly if they see something of their interest like some Disney games that are offered free for sharing of informationwhich could be extremely dangerous.

Trend Micro feels that with the sophistication and persistence of the cyber crimes today, the responsibility towards the society and more so towards todays growing internet usage by children for education holds optimum significance. A combination of proper supervision, effective communication and installation of foolproof software helps in curtailing the menace of cyber threat. We are making initiatives in order to work on educating the children on how to use internet safely for knowledge and education and how to avoid pitfalls of various kinds on internetcyberbullying, personal data loss etc, says Nath. All in all, the focus is to create an ecosystemwhere the young netizens will able to use net effectively and safely for their education and learning purpose, simultaneously averting any unknown mishap.

Initiatives like these are common in developed countries. They give a lot of emphasis in developing children and students from young age toward their social responsibilities. Constant work towards enabling and empowering kids, parents, teachers, and schools around the world to make the internet a safe and secure place for todays youth has been constantly witnessed.

According to the Trend Micro country manager, the internet should be a place where you can talk, learn, shop, and share without worrying about your own safety of personal information. One needs to be smart about what to share and whom to share it with, as well as how one behaves. For ensuring this behaviour in the kids, parents must play a more active role in educating them and checking what their children are being expose to online and keep them safe from inappropriate content, aggressive commercialism and security threats.

Such initiatives alleviate the risk for both children and parents and make them much more aware about the unknown threats internet brings along and which could be catastrophically dangerous, he summarises.