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dna edit: Asking the Centre to play nanny

The Delhi high court’s notice to the Centre asking it to explain how minors, those under the age of 18, could open accounts on social networking sites like Facebook, and have email accounts on Gmail, takes one by surprise.

The Delhi high court’s notice to the Centre asking it to explain how minors, those under the age of 18, could open accounts on social networking sites like Facebook, and have email accounts on Gmail, takes one by surprise.

The petition that led to the high court notice, in essence, expects the government to play nanny to children whose lives revolve around the virtual world. They visit the web to collect information for their school projects, chat with their friends, play games and use the net to keep in touch with their relatives based abroad.

Some of them even have it on their phones. How can the Centre keep a tab on their activities on the internet when it is the job of their parents? Moreover, to ask the government to verify the users’ age is to harm this new technology. There are 150 million internet users, of whom 80% use email and more than half use social media. This number is expected to triple in three years.

Though Google doesn’t bother about a user’s age when he/she opens a mail account, Facebook clearly states that anyone under the age of 13 cannot use the service. But preventing someone as old as 16 or 17 years of age from having an account beats logic.

Yes, the internet is also a hunting ground for paedophiles and rapists. This is where the roles of the parents and teachers assume significance. If they make the children aware of these elements, they can be saved from falling into the trap.

If kids are asked to stay away from Facebook and Gmail, it will only drive them to find newer means to access them. The cat-and-mouse game is not the solution.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/1827576/editorial-dna-edit-asking-the-centre-to-play-nanny

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