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City principals seek police help to check cyber crime

06 March 2007

Principals across the city seem to be taking a cue from principal of Bombay Scottish School, Mahim. After students began posting insults against him on Orkut, instead of punishing them he decided to call in cyber cell cops to talk to students. Now, other school principals have decided to bring in the cyber cell police to speak at their schools. They feel students and parents need to be educated against the legal and moral consequences of cyber crime.

Admitting to the existence of some mischievous students who misuse the internet and also stray into restricted sites due to lack of supervision, principals feel the cyber cell can play a huge role in educating students and warning them. Principal Rekha Vijaykar, GHK School, Santacruz, said that with more and more exposure to the internet, students had started misusing the freedom and hence needed to be monitored. "Monitoring and educating students against the pitfalls of visiting restricted sites is the responsibility of parents. However, the school too has to play an active role," she said.

Principal Alka Lokre of J M Bajaj School, Nagothane concurred. "Students need to be oriented with soul searching and conscience questioning which will help restrain them from misusing modern amenities," she said. As a solution, Principal Fr Dr Francis Swamy of Holy Family School, Andheri, said that apart from educating students, parents and teachers also needed to be roped in for the success of any initiative against internet abuse. "Without the support of parents, no awareness programme can succeed. Parents need to be sensitised to the problem on hand and should be active in stopping their children from maligning anyone," he said.

Principal Paul Machado of Campion School went a step further, highlighting the longterm effect of such uncontrolled freedom to students. "Parents must understand that today their children are misusing the internet to abuse others. Tomorrow, they may become victims of it too. Hence, parents need to be taken into confidence too to stem this rot." Apart from the above, all principals lauded the move by Dr D P N Prasad, Bombay Scottish principal, to invite the cyber cell to speak on cyber crime and said that they would also be inviting the cell officials to speak on the subject in their schools.

ADVICE TO PRINCIPALS

Pyschiatrist Dr Harish Shetty advises principals faced with students writing foul things about them and the school on internet sites Ignore it largely and it slowly dies When provoked and make critical observations or issue threats directly or indirectly the kids enjoy it. The aim is also to rattle teachers. The net is a free world and makes all in authority or influence and others vulnerable. Kids too share a love-hate relation with teachers At one level the net is a safe space to vent frustrations. Here feelings, not necessarily facts, are expressed. This is not cyber crime as all kids are under 18 and empty threats do not work. Amidst the junk, look for hidden messages. Such sites are popular for a short time and the fad passes away soon Educating kids about the negatives of the net and providing enough safe spaces within school walls will bring down such postings.

Principals should educate teachers not to be rattled by it. Do not humiliate children following such an event and also lower the `humiliatory index' in your schools Almost 60 Bombay Scottish students had contributed freely to a forum on Orkut, alleging in their postings that the principal and his deputy have ruined the image of the school


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