Express News Service
KOCHI: Kerala Police is all set to launch four digital de-addiction centers for children who are hooked to online games and social media platforms. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced the plan to start a digital de-addiction center last year. Now Kerala Police have formulated a master plan for the functioning of these de-addiction centres.
According to ADGP Manoj Abraham, the plan is to start a digital de-addiction center each in four police ranges by April. Numerous cases of children addicted to gaming causing financial losses to parents are being reported in recent years.
“There will be four digital de-addiction centers in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Thrissur and Kannur police ranges. The project will be part of Cyberdome. We will use the services of counsellors who are experts in handling children addicted to video and online games,” he said.
In recent years, there were numerous cases of children committing suicide after getting addicted to online games in state. The latest case was reported within Nedumkandam police station limits where a 12-year-old addicted to mobile phone use was found hanging at his house. When police searched his mobile phone, it was found that some codes were written on it. Similarly, a teenager who lost money in an online game committed suicide in Irinjalakuda. In Aluva, a woman lost Rs 2 lakh after her son bought coins online for playing games.
“If parents notice that their children are spending most of their time on online games, they can report it to the police and seek assistance from digital de-addiction centre. The de-addiction centers will provide counseling to students who had to suffer cyberbullying. Similarly, those who are cheated through social media platforms will also be given help,” an official said.
Jiyas Jamal, a Kochi-based expert in cyber law and founder of NGO Cyber Suraksha Foundation, said that apart from addiction and money loss, now several apps and websites are providing small amounts as loans for playing online games.
In several cases, the loan sharks mentally harass children in such a way that they find it difficult to focus on their studies. “In most cases, children play online games using their parents’ mobile phone. These children also know the online payment details of their parents including their debit/credit card numbers and pin, UPAI number and access their OTP details. Parents should be watchful,” he said.
Online loan sharks
Cyber experts warn parents about several apps and websites that provide small amounts as loans for playing online games. In several cases, the loan sharks mentally harass children in such a way that they find it difficult to focus on their studies.
Service will be available in T’Puram, Kochi, Thrissur and Kannur police ranges