Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Friday that social networking sites have become a major problem in the country and if not used with control, could have 'disastrous' results on the younger generation.
Inaugurating the two-day 'International Cyber Security and Policing Conference' in Thiruvananthapuram, he said social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are popular among youth but the 'hidden matter' within is the biggest malice affecting children.
Quoting a recent survey, Mr Chandy said the average time spent by 33 per cent of children on the web is about 60 minutes, while around six per cent spent more than six hours. "This rise in number of users has also seen a rise in cybercrime activities, particularly those targeted towards children," he said.
The Chief Minister said children and women are most vulnerable in cyber related crimes. Crimes like pornography, cyber stalking, cyber cheating and hacking are primarily used against women, he said, adding "most of this happens due to lack of awareness and poor cyber security measures adopted."
A total of 799 persons were arrested under IT Act in 2010 and 294 persons under cyber-crime related sections of Indian Penal Code, he said, quoting the National Crime Records Bureau.
The conference, organised by Kerala Police, is aimed at formulating a platform to discuss, showcase and educate on latest trends in information, cyber and hi-tech crimes.
Delivering the keynote address, former Minister of state for External Affairs and MP, Sashi Tharoor said the manner in which India deals with cyber threats left much to be desired.
"It is relatively chaotic and there is constant insecurity in the minds of observers that our cyber-defences are inefficient. This perception has been underscored by frequent reports of successful invasions of Indian cyberspace," he said.
Stating that freedom of cyberspace is just as crucial as its protection, he said the policy on cyber security is too important to be left to cyber security experts and too valuable socially to be left to police.
Cyber experts from government and non-government agencies from the country and aboard are participating in the event.