March 27, 2024

MUMBAI: Cybercrime targeting children spiked 261% amid the first pandemic-induced lockdown in India, but just one person was convicted of the 116 arrested across the country for the most common offence of online stalking, according to data collated by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
UP, which had topped the list overall in 2019, lost the dubious record to Maharashtra’s 207 cases in 2020, marking a 196% rise over the 70 such crimes reported in that state the previous year. UP (197 cases) was followed by Karnataka (144), Kerala (126), Odisha (71) and Andhra Pradesh (52).
Cyber experts said the lockdown triggered not only an increase in child viewership of digital content, but also creation of objectionable videos featuring minors stuck at home for months. It transpired that most such content had been recorded by a family member, a neighbour or acquaintance. The most alarming feature of cybercrimes involving minors is that in some cases, financial desperation led the victims to make and sell exploitative content. Many children were groomed online and convinced to be part of online sexual activity.
“…Minors often fall victim to child pornography by people known to them, including relatives,” cyber lawyer Dr Prashant Mali said.

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