Rajya Sabha's committee recommends a change in laws to protect children from social media abuse

NEW DELHI: To combat the impact of pornography on social networks on children, a Rajya Sabha has recommended critical changes in the law. To broaden the definition of kid pornography in the Protection of Children from Offences Act to include as an offence any written material, visual representation and audio recording advocating sexual activity with a kid (under 18 years).

He also defined sexually explicit in the existing definition and included cyber bullying as a crime: the committee has called for significant legislative changes.

In its report tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, the committee has recommended that the Prime Minister should take the lead in creating a global political alliance to combat kid pornography on social media. It is recommended that the Information Technology Act be also amended to enhance the scope and power of the dark web investigator and provide powers to the union government through its designated authority to block and prohibit all websites and intermediaries that carry kid sexual abuse material.

The 14-member adhoc committee led by Congressman Jairam Ramesh in his report also focuses on the vulnerability of minors and seeks guarantees under the law for minors involved in sexting and selfies. The adhoc committee was created in December on the instructions of the president of Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu .

Last year, as part of the amendments made to the POCSO Act, a defintion of kid pornography was introduced. Now the Rajya Sabha committee wants this definition to be broadened. The committee is of the view that sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a kid engaging in sexual activity. "A picture of nude or semi-nude kid may constitute illegal kid pornography if the posture is sufficiently sexually suggestive also called ‘erotic posing'," it is stated by the committee which has recommended that there is need to define the term "sexually explicit."

The committee calls for including a definition of cyber-grooming. It is recommended that in section 11 of POCSO, which deals sexual harassment of a kid , a porvision be included that when such person with sexual intent “knowingly persuades, coerces, entices, grooms, communicates, arranges a meeting with a kid for oneself or another person and/or meets with a kid with the intent of sexually abusing the kid , and even if the actor thinks he/she is communicating with a kid but is actually talking to an adult."

The committee has also recommended a Code of Conduct for social media platforms, mandatory apps on all devices sold in India that monitor kid ren’s access to pornographic content. Besides recommending filters for parental control, and age verification, the committee has suggested that on platforms like and Facebook, there should be separate adult sections where the entry of underage kid ren could be disallowed.

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