Author – Yukta Pandey
II Year | The Maharaja Saiyajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara
The world of virtual reality, also known as cyberspace, has been a vital part of our daily life for long. Additionally, it is incredibly vast and has spread its hands through all the fields of knowledge. The development of the internet has also caused expanse into the reach of crimes. Consequently, crimes like theft or harassment can be committed online. Therefore, this type of crime is called cyber crime.
The term “Cyber crimes” means any criminal or other offence, facilitated by or involving the use of electronic communications or information systems, including any device or the internet or any one or more of them.
Sussman and Houston coined first Cyber-crime in the year 1995. However, cyber crime is such a wide term that we can’t confine it to a single definition. Thus, it is important to consider it as a collection of different acts and conducts. In other words, cyber crime is an illegal act where the computers act on the side of the tool or target.
Cybercrimes against Children:
Children are the most vulnerable and easily exploited sections in the cyberspace.  Therefore, the threats lurking in cyberspace for children range from defamation to sextortion. Children may also unwittingly expose their families by downloading malware on the devices of parents.
Offenders have also started using the internet to exploit children sexually. The electronic exploitation of children is a grave concern at the international level as the advancement of technology facilitates their abuse. The victims who are exploited online are also compelled to keep the abuse secretive for entire life. Additionally, it affects the overall mental development of children.
Child Pornography – Meaning and Forms:
Child pornography is an act of exploiting children for sexual stimulation. The United Nations (UN) defines child pornography as “any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child, the dominant characteristic of which is depiction for a sexual purpose”.
There are various forms of child pornography across various domains. For example – print media, videos, film, compact disc, CD- ROM, DVD etc. Further, they can be transmitted through various channels of Internet Relay Chat Channels, Internet clubs, and other websites. The abovementioned are continually changing and are dynamic in nature.
The technology has come so far ahead that an innocent normal photograph can be morphed or manipulated as the manipulator wants. There are also virtual child pornographies where no physical child is the subject. Moreover, there are easily available softwares which are used to edit and attach the face of the real child to the body of the child of a virtual existence. The technology and the efficiency of the editors is so high that the real and the fake are identical and difficult to distinguish. Child pornography is one of the most heinous crimes in existence because it encourages sexual abuse of children, sex tourism, human trafficking etc.
Pornography related Statistics in India:
The sharing of child porn over the internet has increased in the last few years. In 1998, 3000 cases had been reported against websites that held content related to child pornography or physical violation on children. . This number got increased to over 100,000 just a decade later. Further, in 2014, the number reached 1 million for the very first time. Above all, last year the number of registered cases went up to 18.4 million. When researched on the statistics of the search engine, 25% of the questions were related to pornography of children, as clearly stated by the director of Indian Cyber Army. Consequently, India is unfortunately the largest contributor and consumer of child pornographic content.
Laws to combat Child Pornography:
Several Indian laws have been enacted for protection of children against pornography. Firstly, under the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008, Section 67B criminalized child pornography. Child porn consumption is also criminalized. Further, the punishment on first conviction is imprisonment up to five years and fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees. However, in the event of a second or subsequent conviction, imprisonment upto seven years and fine up to ten lakh rupees can be imposed under Section 67A of the IT Act, 2000.
Section 293 of IPC apparently focuses on criminalizing the selling, distributing, exhibiting, circulating, etc. of any obscene material to any person below the age of twenty years. Such type of acts are cognizable offences. First time in the history the Government declared the rules and punishment for the crime of child pornography in the POCSO Rules (2020). Section 14, POCSO Act, 2012 criminalizes the usage of children for pornographic purposes in any form of media.
The internet has covered the minds of the population across the globe. This endangers the security of the children who are innocent and victimized by such inhumane treatment. The importance of proper guidance and sex education from the preliminary stage is crucial in order to raise awareness. The bonding of parents with children is also extremely crucial. Also if anyone violates the law, the consequences of such an act should be made widely known.
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Editor: Pari Agrawal
Content Manager| Leagle Samiksha