Published: 25th November 2021
Over 3,000 govt school students chosen as Cyber Cops from across Telangana. This is what it means for them
Cyber Congress is a ten-month virtual programme for which two government school students and a mentor teacher have been chosen. The aim is to make them aware about cybercrimes
As many as 3,300 government school students were decreed as Cyber Cops - Cyber Ambassadors by Telangana State Women Safety Wing (WSW). An investiture ceremony was held in each of the 50 government schools from all the districts of the Telugu-speaking state on November 23. Students were given badges and they took an oath that implored them to create awareness regarding cybercrimes. In Hyderabad's Mahboobia Girls High School, WSW Additional Director-General of Police Swati Lakra and WSW Deputy Inspector General of Police Sumathi Badugula were present. This unique e-community policing is an initiative that hopes to create safe online spaces, especially for kids and women.
The pandemic forced all students to switch to the digital mode and with it came the cybercrime scare. According to the data for 2020, released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Telangana saw a rise in cybercrime by 86 per cent. Hence, the ten-month initiative was launched and the chosen students will be attending virtual sessions as a part of Cyber Congress and be learning about cybercrimes in-depth. These sessions will also come with interesting activities to keep students engaged.
All about the Cyber Congress
"Along with the two students, the mentor teacher too will be attending the virtual Zoom sessions and guiding the students as and when necessary," says S Rajitha who is the District Coordinator, Gender and Equity Coordinator and Nodal Officer for the Cyber Congress programme. It was in April-May 2021 that the students were selected and in July that the virtual sessions began. In the district of Hyderabad and a few other districts, up to three sessions have been conducted. This has been done with the help of NGO Youngistaan Foundation.
How to behave online, avoid online frauds, how to use laptops and smartphones in a safe and secure way, coming up with strong passwords and even the topic of WhatsApp forwards has been dealt with so far, including how to report online frauds. "The idea is that, in turn, they will spread awareness in their schools, among their friends, parents, relatives and others," says Rajitha. She points out that many from the older generation are users of smartphones and yet they turn to youngsters when it comes to transactions or anything else they don't understand. "Oftentimes, even adults and educated folk fall prey and hence, this initiative is much-needed," she says and adds that the attitude is such that adults are even ashamed to report such cases.
Fruitful sessions, indeed
Ramadevi is a mentor teacher from Government High School in Lashkar Bazar, Warangal, and her duties include attending the sessions and ensuring that her students attend them too. "The menace of cybercrime began much before the pandemic itself for all of us, so we are glad this activity is happening," she says. Student Potlapally Bharani from Zilla Parishad High School, Peddakaparthy, Nalgonda, says that she is particularly enjoying the live and interactive classes. "We conducted two awareness sessions in our school till date," shares the Class X student.
Lottery scams, fake job offers, matrimonial frauds, scholarships scams and so more — the fact that so many online frauds exist shocked A Katyayani, a student of Class X Government Girls High School, Red Cross Society in Hyderabad. So, she is glad that via these two-to-three-hour sessions she is getting to learn a lot. The activities require her to paint, make posters and so much more. She, along with fellow ambassador P Srilakshmi Prabha, studying in Class IX, even delivered effective sessions for Classes VII to X. "Our fellow students seem very interested in learning about the subject," she informs.
G Poojitha from Government Girls High School Mahboobia, Hyderabad, is pumped with the three sessions and seven activities that were conducted. The Class VIII student has started speaking to her relatives about cybercrimes. "We were informed about how SHE Teams will help us and this is information that we need to know," she says.