JK Lakshmipat University and CRY organises Workshop on ‘Digital Media and the Safety of Children and Adolescents’

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Jaipur : The Centre for Communication and Critical Thinking at JK Lakshmipat University, in collaboration with CRY – Child Rights and You, organised a workshop on ‘Digital Media and the Safety of Children and Adolescents’, on Saturday, March 18, 2023. The objective behind the day-long workshop was to initiate the discussion on this very relevant and sensitive issue among the students who would be responsible for shaping the future in different capacities. The speakers at the workshop were Dr. Debarati Dhar, Manager (Media Advocacy), CRY, and Ms. Ragini Pant, Senior Manager (Research), CRY, and who leveraged their vast experience and knowledge of the domain to help the attending students understand and engage with important questions and ideas related to online safety.


Dr. Debarati Dhar started the discussion by touching on a broad selection of related topics: constructs of digital safety, the notion of online risk and trust, the idea of the term “child labour” often being related to the informal sector alone, traffickers luring children through online platforms, and cyber-bullying, among others. She pointed out complexities of the online space: for instance, how survivors of abuse in the offline space sometimes become perpetrators in the online space. She encouraged the participants to share their own experiences, or those that they knew of from within their circles, to make the session more participatory and authentic.


In the next session, empirical findings of a recently concluded research study was shared by CRY and Chanakya National Law University, Patna, titled “POCSO and Beyond: Understanding Online Safety during COVID”. The need for the study was highlighted: although laws and acts like CSEA and POCSO exist on paper, their implementation needs to be studied and examined in detail. Often, even media and organisations that work with children and their parents do not have the right data. There is a lack of credible information, especially from studies conducted in the Indian context. In this session, following a discussion on the stakeholders, the parameters and the design of the study, key findings were shared, including the fact that child trafficking actually increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the use of online spaces. It was highlighted that, overall, the study actually resulted in more questions being raised about the safety of children online.


To allow for greater engagement with the ideas discussed, the participants were asked to work in groups of around 5-6 people and prepare a visual representation/poster of their understanding of how child sexual abuse operates, especially online. The session was attended by around 125 first-year students from the B.Tech. programme, who participated enthusiastically in the discussion and asked pertinent questions. It is hoped that events such as these will lead to increased awareness and sensitivity on an extremely relevant topic for today’s youth.