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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Citizens’ group to take on cyber fiends

Thane: The Mukherjees took pride in their 14-year-old daughter boasting of her rising friend count on the social networking sites. Sometime back, the Class XI student of a Ghodbunder school was caught by cops at a lonely street in a compromising position with three boys, all of whom she had met on the e-highway. 

    For Preeti Mishra, the web world has left her scarred forever. A victim of cyber-bullying, the school girl was the target of the gizmo savvy teens in their upscale complex here, as they posted insults on her social networking wall and flooded her e-mails with defamatory messages. 
    The side-effects of social networking sites are all too evident as more and more children, parents and educators are staring at the problem with little answers on how to deal with it. A Thane citizens' group of child counsellors and voluntary organizations has teamed up to create awareness about the e-world and have flagged off their campaign to make responsible netizens. 
    "We are basically seeking to educate children about being responsible for their actions. Our attempt is to prevent them from internet abuse and harassment. A pre
liminary survey showed heavy dependency on net and social networking sites. They are dangerously close to e-addictions and we have seen children going into depression due to this,'' said Unmesh Joshi, an active member of Ahhan Foundation. 
    With parents and elders not quite sure how to deal with the huge e-tide flooding their homes, the foundation 

and Yuvnomesh Pratisthan here are taking up the task of holding workshops in 103 schools and 20 junior colleges in Thane talking to children, teachers and parents. 
    Child counselor Sonali Patankar said online friendships is in vogue but there is no written rules on digital communication and parental neglect could prove disastrous as most children are getting addicted to the cyber space while ignoring the real world.


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