The increasing popularity of social media applications makes them a breeding ground for illegal activities such as extortion. The extortionists are increasingly using Snapchat to blackmail victims by threatening to share their private pictures on the internet.
While this can affect any individual, the impact is even bigger when it comes to a private society such as Kashmir. Many girls have encountered social problems as a result of a negative experience on social media, which usually involves sharing private information and location details that leave them exposed to blackmail and identity theft. This is, obviously, a very small data pool but it does raise several issues.
The possibility of a privacy breach that social media has opened up has led to an increase in cyber crimes. But this does not make Snapchat or any other social media platform inherently dangerous. These platforms are a double-edged sword that depend on individual use and all indications are that their popularity will only increase. Its important therefore to keep a level head.
Certainly, any parent reading about the dangers of Snapchat would be inclined to warn their children not to use the app. Yet extortion can happen in other ways. A person who wanted to ask another for private pictures has many forums to do so: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, even the humble email, all could be used to send private pictures that could be used to blackmail.
The problem, therefore, is not Snapchat. It is how these applications are used. Awareness is key in preventing cyber crimes. Its important for parents to not give their children access to the internet without restrictions and to have conversations with them about the possible consequences of their online activities. There should also be a private hotline for victims to report extortion to the authorities without fearing the social consequences. Most of all, users should keep their cool and not disseminate photos they wouldnt wish to be viewed by a wider audience.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.