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How safe are our girls using the Net?

GUWAHATI, Aug 21 - What otherwise are unavoidable means to communicate have now become a matter of concern for young girls in the city. The mobile phone and social networking sites such as Orkut and Facebook have now become favourite tools for persons seeking to take advantage of adolescent girls and young women.
With mobile penetration becoming deeper and Internet growing more accessible to women, these stalkers in increasing numbers have made unwelcome advances to innocent young women, who have had to face a host of problems. Some incidents have left victims traumatised, knowing that they have parted with personal information and remain vulnerable.
Neeta Goswami (name changed) was a regular visitor to an Internet cafe at Pan Bazar, where she checked her email account and occasionally conversed in chat rooms. A few weeks later she started getting odd calls at night from a male stranger, who appeared to know her personal details. Surprised at this intrusion of her privacy, she confided in her husband. His enquiries did not reveal much, but soon her email account was full of mails from various males making lewd remarks. In all likelihood she had left her account open at the cafe, and someone with malicious intent had fished out her personal information.
Chat rooms and social network sights are among the places of choice for some people intent on harassing girls and young women. A few weeks back, S Choudhury, a young professional from Guwahati was taken by surprise to see her profile in a social networking site being grossly abused. The matter could have gone unnoticed if her relative in Guwahati had not warned her. Thereafter, the young woman has taken extra caution in selectingfriends on the Internet.
Young girls using the Orkut have also been discussing some groups that have been formed by users claiming to be based in Guwahati. Some of these groups have put in photos and information aboutyoung women, which are highly objectionable. Some have even put in phone numbers for people to get in touch.
What happened with Mrinali Das (name changed), a past student of Cotton College, left the young woman traumatised for a long time after the incident had taken place. In love with a non-Assamese youth from Assam, she had sent some digital images to her boyfriend. Some time later, she started receiving stares from her male friends. One of her friends informed that her photos have been doctored and posted on a popular adult website.
Those acquainted with incidents such as these have urged maximum caution to be exercised in the use of mobile phones and the Internet. They keep reiterating that one should never divulgepersonal information to strangers over the Internet, and that care should be taken in handing out mobile phone numbers. (source - assamtribune)

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