The death of a 17-year-old student in Behala last year due to cyber bullying might be an extreme case but cyber crime is on the rise in Kolkata. And nowhere is this more evident than in the weekly interactions between school and college students and Kolkata and Bidhannagar police.
West Bengal – Kolkata in particular – has shown one of the biggest jumps nationwide in cyber-crime, says the National Crime Records Data for 2012. Such cases have increased by 355.8 % in Bengal in just five years. The Kolkata figures are even scarier – a 1033.3 % jump between 2011 and 2015. Among those arrested last year for cyber crimes were four students and six minors, who were treated as “sexual freaks”. The spurt in such cases also indicates that police are increasingly filing cases under IPC sections, giving the Cyber Crime Act a miss.
Among the common crimes committed by children are cyber bullying, cyber stalking, defamation and hacking into peer profiles. “The problem is that a majority of such crimes have no criminal intention. They are seen as an extension of a prank. But children often don’t realize how much danger they are playing with. We try to emphasize this point in our interactions with children. For example, we point out how a simple step like logging on to a shopping website from its domain address is safer instead of accessing it from any search engine,” said a Bidhannagar police officer.