Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has added a cyber safety course for students of 9 to 12 classes after the recent bois locker room incidents where teenagers were sharing images of girls with lewd comments on social media. The parent community has been concerned and many discussions have been going on between parents and the teaching authorities to understand how to tackle the challenges a locker room scenario poses among young adults.

The CBSE handbook details guidelines for students as well as parents, listing the dos and donts and activities to understand the sensitivity of the issue. With access to the internet in general and for studies in particular during the lockdown, CBSE is taking extra precautions for potential threats, and group behaviour. The handbook warns against falling into the trap of revenge pornography.

“Students must learn to set limits to their online friendships as well as online communication with real life friends. There has to be a limit to what they share or exchange in terms of written words, photographs or videos. They must remember that, once online, they may not be able to control who will actually see it, prevent breach of trust and misuse and potential risk and harm to their person and reputation,” a senior board official said as per a PTI report.

“Teenagers need to understand gender relations. Boys must learn to interact with girls on equal terms and respect them and their desires as those of human beings, not simply as objects of respect or desires,” the official said.

“Consent must be an important part of relationships. Pictures, videos and other material shared in confidence cannot be published on social media without the permission of the person just because the other person does not want to continue in a relationship. Youngsters must learn to cope with rejection as it is a part of life but not the end of the world,” the official added.

“As of now, there is no minimum age of digital consent in India. If there are people offline who you would be uncomfortable talking to about your physical or sexual experiences, chances are, you would be uncomfortable doing this with strangers online too. Cyber Groomers create fake accounts to befriend people, for the purpose of harming them whether physically, sexually or emotionally,” the official said.

“Teenagers in the age-group of 14 to 18 years are the worst victims of revenge porn as well as the perpetrators themselves, which is a matter of concern. Some teenage students who have been in a relationship and end it find their explicit photographs circulated on social media platforms. When such images go viral, students are often harassed and bullied by their peers branded with insult and in the end, isolated,” the handbook states.

“A teenager may be targeted by her jealous classmates, her ex-boyfriend or even an unknown friend on social media who may be victimising her because she stopped communicating with him when she realised the dangers of online relationships,” says the handbook.

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