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    Smartness without smartphones

    February 15, 2019

    Would our children be smart enough to survive without the internet or smartphone in near future? The word “smart” we use to describe Smartphone, is not a mere word but an acronym. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. According to the survey done by Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), the primary motivation of Sri Lankan youth for using social media is maintaining relationships or, in other words, keeping in touch with friends and families. Then where are the values and norms we, the great South Asian Nation, protect and granted from generation to generation, are heading to?

    Incidents are being reported to every police station with regard to sexual exploitation using the internet. A considerable number of cases have been reported where children have committed suicide due to intolerable harassment online. Sexual exploitation through online is a dispensable social issue where mostly women and children are at risk and almost all members of the society should be aware of. The rules and regulations exist for a certain extent to punish the perpetrators. But it is important to know the limits of the relationships and how to maintain the limits as well as the laws. The famous issue on the internet is sharing obscene photos or videos and committing grave sexual offences by blackmailing on such images or videos.

    Obscene Publications Ordinance

    Once a complaint lodge in a police station on any obscene sharing or publishing, the charge will be under Obscene Publications Ordinance No. 2 of 1927. This Ordinance has amended two times in 1983 and 2005. If someone has obtained someone else’s information unlawfully, buys, receives, retains, sells, or in any manner, that person can be tried under the Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007. Under this Act, any Computer, Mobile Phone or a Device can be investigated by experts having the required qualification and experience in electronic engineering or software technology, upon an order issued by a Court. This type of complaints can be lodged directly in the Cyber Crime Branch at the Crime Investigation Department of the Department of Police as well. Then the investigation will be done by the officers and the perpetrators will be produced to the courts for due process.

    In any occasion where the sufficient evidence exists showing that a child or children have been used to produce obscene photographs or videos, the provision under the Penal Code Amendment number 22 of 1995 will be used. Not only can the culprits who directly involved with the crime, the persons who provide computer facility and the premises also be tried according to amendment No. 16 of 2006. A significant clause in this amendment is that “injuries” includes "psychological or mental trauma”. The psychological harm that can be done to a child or a young person through sexual abuse is irretrievable and that will pave the path to a society where the individuals with hatred hearts and violence.

    Therefore, it is an astringent clause in our law though it is very rarely used in prosecution.

    Children and young persons groomed by strangers are found on the internet. Some victims have been used for sexual purposes. In this type of complaints, the initiated crime which the grooming or bullying will be omitted and the charge will be only for the rape or the sexual abuse. But the important and the initiated element of the crime is bullying or grooming, which our Penal Code has not addressed directly. But an urgent necessity emerges of identifying the Bullying and Grooming conducted through the internet to be identified as crimes.

    Persons under 18 years of age have been covered by the Penal Code Amendment No. 22 of 1995 form sexual exploitation. Accordingly, any person who takes advantage, of his influence over or, his relationship to a child to procure such child for sexual intercourse or any form of sexual abuse and threatens, or uses violence towards a child to procure such child for sexual intercourse or any form of sexual harassment. So in any incident where a child has been blackmailed or threatened through the internet on the purpose of having a sexual advantage can be charged under this provision.

    “Online” harassment

    Many women also become victims of sexual harassment using online apps. Sexual harassment can be punished under Section 345 of the Penal Code. But we have an ambiguity when it comes to “online” harassment, in proving the crime when the perpetrator is physically not appearing in front of the victim at the time of the crime is happening. The other crucial issue is that perpetrators on the internet always appear in another person’s appearance or identity. Therefore, it has been revealed that following the precaution is the best method out of all the safety methods when women and children using the internet. Especially avoid unwanted and unknown people from your apps is the first step to maintain.

    Another major issue is that once a crime takes place victims always in a presumption that this is only because of their own fault and they try to capture the pain inside them and do not come out with it.

    It never helps the others to eradicate this type of unacceptable vulgarities from society and the long term psychological depression of the victim can lead to committing suicide as well. On the other hand, it is the responsibility of every citizen to support the government to maintain the Law and Order in the country. The basic manifestation in the theory of Law is that the “Justice should not only be done but it must also be seen to be done”. Therefore, for any injustice suffered by society should be redressed by the Justice. The path to reach the Justice may be not a road full of flowers with the destination at your arm’s length. But an attempt is more important.

    Why people, especially young ones share their nudity online. Many reasons may be behind, but, self-respect to themselves and respect to another person would never ask a naked photo from other, never share, sell or blackmail on it.

    Maintaining a respectful relationship with each other and keeping the values and norms among each other will lead to a good personality. Having fun by bruising someone else’s feelings will never bring happiness or satisfaction to an individual. Being an honest and “SMART” person among many wrongdoers will help to bring self-confidence and build an ever shining personality.


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