A group of Rajya Sabha MPs is looking into the issue of regulating access of children to pornography on the internet and it has decided to hold deliberations with law enforcement agencies, TRAI and social media giants such as WhatsApp and Facebook, sources said.
The informal group includes 14 MPs from 10 parties and it was formed by the Upper House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu. On November 28, Naidu had asked Congress MP Jairam Ramesh to form a committee comprising lawmakers from across party lines to suggest concrete steps to curb pornography on social media and other Internet platforms which is adversely affecting children.
Naidus suggestion came after AIADMK MP Vijila Sathyananth raised the issue in the House.
The MPs got into action quickly and conducted its first meeting on Monday and held preliminary discussion on the subject, a source said on Tuesday.
The group decided that it will consult civil society groups, experts, parents, government agencies like Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and law enforcement agencies on this sensitive issue. It will also hold deliberations with telecom regulator TRAI, National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and social media companies such as Bytedance (TikTok), WhatsApp, Google, Facebook, Sharechat and Microsoft, the source added.
The group noted that the Internet offers significant developmental and educational benefits for children but the growing access to it and social media leads to increased exposure to unsafe content like pornography and potential risks of online harassment, abuse and exploitation.
The MPs who are a part of this group are Vinay P Shasrabuddhe, Rajeev Chandrashekar Roopa Ganguly, Jairam Ramesh, MV Rajeev Gauda, Amee Yajnik, Derek OBrien, Tiruchi Siva, Vijila Sathyanath, Jaya Bachchan, Vandana Chavan, Amar Patnaik, Kahkashan Perween and Sanjay Singh.