Teaching 'Virtual Touch': Delhi High Court Advocates Online Safety for Minors

Mainstream
07-May-2024
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In a bid to fortify minors against the perils of virtual exploitation, the Delhi High Court emphasized the imperative of educating children about 'virtual touch' alongside traditional concepts of 'good touch' and 'bad touch' [Kamlesh Devi v State of NCT of Delhi & Anr]. Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma underscored the necessity of fostering critical online literacy to mitigate the evolving threats of cyber predation.

Acknowledging the inadequacy of conventional teachings in navigating the complexities of the digital realm, Justice Sharma elucidated, "Efforts must be taken to teach them to develop critical thinking skills to assess the credibility of online contacts and safeguard their personal information." This holistic approach entails equipping minors with the tools to discern warning signs of predatory behavior and implement stringent privacy settings.

The court's directive extended beyond the judicial sphere, urging stakeholders such as schools, colleges, and legal authorities to integrate educational modules on virtual touch into their curricula and outreach programs. Emphasizing the need for proactive intervention, Justice Sharma emphasized, "The need of the hour...to hold programs, workshops, and conferences focusing not only on the traditional concepts of 'Good' and 'Bad Touch' but also on the emerging concept of 'Virtual Touch' and its potential dangers."

The ruling stemmed from a harrowing case involving the kidnapping and exploitation of a 16-year-old girl, emblematic of the grave repercussions of online vulnerability. Kamlesh Devi, accused of orchestrating the abduction, was denied bail by the court, which underscored the gravity of the offenses and the need for stringent judicial scrutiny.

Advocates representing Devi, including Amit Prasad and Rajeev Ranjan, vehemently contested the allegations, while the Delhi Police, led by Additional Public Prosecutor Manoj Pant, advocated for the preservation of justice and the protection of vulnerable minors.

In an endeavor to foster a safer virtual environment for minors, the court's directive not only mandates legal repercussions but also underscores the imperative of holistic educational initiatives aimed at empowering children with the requisite skills to navigate the digital landscape responsibly.

Author: Anushka Taraniya 

News Writer, MIT ADT University