Children entrapped in dating apps; More cases reported in Kerala 

Aswathy Balachander

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Representational Image l Photo: AFP

Kozhikode: Several reports of children falling prey to dating apps have surfaced in Kerala. The number of children seeking counselling after facing threats from strangers via online dating apps have surged in the state. Since these dating apps verify age, children are creating fake profiles by uploading false details.

Cyber officials claimed that many students who depend on mobile phones for online classes during the period of Covid 19 are secretly using these dating apps. Hence, the offenders target these children to embezzle money and even for sex rackets. This has been executed by finding out the personal details and background of these targeted children. In many cases, the children or their families refrain from lodging complaints, due to fear of disgrace.

Warning from Interpol

International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has warned 194 countries, including India, over fraudulent activities proceeding via dating apps. Concerns over the security of dating apps have recently triggered debates with the murder of Shraddha Walker in Delhi. Her live-in partner Aaftab Poonamwala, whom she met via a dating app, had brutally killed her and disposed off her body in different parts of the city after chopping into pieces.

Traps lurking children

  • Most of the children are creating accounts disguising as adults. Some of them share photos and videos to online friends, who later misuse it to threat.
  • The family members may also turn victims. Certain cases were reported in which children took the photos of the relatives of other children to make fake profiles in these dating apps, thereby insulting them.
  • Girls who carry out nude video calls are available in many dating apps. Several cases surfaced in which children got involved with these girls.
  • Scared of threats, many minor girls are forced to do such video calls
  • Sex chatting business has been carried out by making payments.
Ensure safety

  • Do not share personal details, including social media account details and phone number through dating apps
  • It is better to not link Instagram or other social media platforms with dating apps
  • Avoid interactions with people whose profiles do not reveal their identity
  • Do not respond to requests or threats demanding money.

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