<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Don’t post sexually provocative poses and don’t show too much skin.” No, this was not an angry parent berating her child but the Delhi police. In a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation given to 90 schools, addressing an estimated 5,300 children, the police apparently decided that it wasn’t just enough to enforce the law they needed to play the ‘moral police’ as well.The presentation, which has been accessed by DNA, will be made available to a further 876 schools across the capital soon.The presentations, which started from November 2 and are ongoing, came about after a directive by Delhi police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma. Under this directive, the Delhi police started a programme entitled “Protect Children On The Net” where officials are meant to educate students about existing cyber laws of the country and the dangers of sexual predators online.”Online predators do not fit any one mould or stereotype. They come from all walks of life—seemingly upstanding citizens have been caught enticing children for sexual acts,” stated the presentation.Police officials have also told students — in the presentation— that predators on social networking sites and chat rooms may try to gain their trust by making promises, sending cool gifts or offering them affection and attention. “They may also talk about inappropriate things, send you sexually explicit images, ask for your personal information, or ask you to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.””Posting information like your name, your school, or your address could put you in a dangerous position and at the risk of victimisation. Someone looking to harm you could easily follow you and know what time of the day you will be at each location,” Delhi police officers told students.So far, so good. But post this information came the moral policing. Cops pointed out that students needed to behave in a “decent” manner online. “Sexually provocative photos and videos not only convey the wrong image, but may also catch the eye of a predator,” said Delhi police advised students.The cops also went on to say that by showing “too much skin” students were actually “enticing someone unknown on the internet who may later try to persuade to do inappropriate things.” And after this moral tirade, came a threat. Students were given examples of fellow students who had been suspended from school and lost career and educational opportunities, due to inappropriate information being posted on their profiles and blogs.The police also gave an example of a student whose social networking password was leaked and thereafter a “morphed nude photograph of hers were sent to everyone on her address book.”The police’s insensitivity in dealing with students has left some activists incensed. Bharti Ali, Founder and Director of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, a Delhi-based NGO, working towards securing child rights, told DNA.”It is scary that the police are intruding into the private space of children. If they are educating children, they need to be more sensitive. There is no issue in educating kids but intruding into their personal space and directing them what to do and what not to do is, frankly, frightening.”Countering Ali’s claims, senior cops claim the slides should not be seen in isolation as the presentation addresses the larger problem of young minds falling prey to online predators.
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