Today’s children can’t imagine life without a social networking profile, sharing photographs online or gaming with their friends. In India over 30 million children have a mobile phone and an estimated 134 million are expected to come online by 2017.
While the internet provides opportunities for India’s youth to learn and share, the lack of digital literacy and online safety measures mean children are exposed to a greater risk of cyberbullying, identity theft and sexual exploitation.
In 2013, the Delhi High Court noted that India is behind the times on online protection of children. Three years on, changes in child online safety-related policies and implementation of digital literacy programs in schools have moved forward very slowly. While policymakers are quite active in this area, the discussion is centered more around cybercrime than child protection and initiatives seem fragmented. But while progress may be slow in general, one of the country’s international mobile internet providers, Telenor, is committed to lead by example in the area of child online safety and digital literacy.