'Don't install unwanted apps, be wary of fake news'

One of the repeated themes in the booklet is the advice not to share any personal details, including their date of birth, passwords, photos and other details as well as keeping a stranger at arms-length. Representative image.

Verify before sharing anything, as fake news and hoax messages spread like wildfire on social media, never install “unwanted” Apps like a dating App or online games and avoid responding to requests for sharing sexual experiences or requests for sharing sexually explicit photos or videos.

This advice is part of a 38-page handbook called 'Your Cyber Dost' for adolescents and students on cyber safety prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The booklet, with graphics, in English  deal with a variety of subjects like cyber threats, cyber bullying, cyber grooming, online gaming and email fraud among others.

One of the repeated themes in the booklet is the advice not to share any personal details, including their date of birth, passwords, photos and other details as well as keeping a stranger at arms-length.

It advises youngsters to have "complex" passwords for their email as well as social media accounts to ensure that their accounts are not compromised easily.

The tips for using social media accounts include using a "strong" password if they access sites like Twitter and Facebook through a mobile phone.

At a time when social media has become a breeding ground for hoax messages and fake news, the "Cyber Dost" advices youngsters not to forward or share any message on social media or messaging App before confirming its authenticity from other sources.

"Fake news or hoax messages spread like wildfire on social media. It may create law and order problem and may end-up causing loss of life in few cases," it warned.

Highlighting the cyber crime scene in the country, it points out that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has reported that there were over 53,000 such cases reported last year.

To avoid cyber bullying, the booklet advises, "never install unwanted software and Apps like dating App, online games from unknown sources. You should be very careful while chatting in chat rooms. Never share personal details in the chatroom and limit your identity." Even if one feels hurt after reading a post, one should "not react aggressively" to any post one does not don't like.

On cyber grooming, the booklet says, “cyber grooming is growing as one of the major cyber threats faced by children and teenagers. It is a practice where someone builds an emotional bond with children through social media or messaging platforms with an objective of gaining their trust for sexually abusing and exploiting them."

"Avoid talking to people who asks you questions related to your physical and sexual experiences... Do not talk to people who ask you to share your sexually explicit photographs or videos... They can also blackmail you," it warns.

The tip while playing online games is that they should be careful not to share credit card details as "some infected sites can capture the details and misuse it".

The booklet identified that more and more children invest time online to play games, make friends and use social networking sites.

"In fact with smart phone access to social networking, online games, shopping etc has increased significantly... With increasing use of cyber space, cyber crimes are also increasing rapidly."

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'Don't install unwanted apps, be wary of fake news'

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