Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | October 24, 2014 | 02:18 pm IST The plot is so straight-forward, you wonder why they made a documentary out of it. The story is simple – naïve school girl lured by a predator on line, likes the attention, unaware of the dangers, chats turn longer, she seeks privacy from friends and family, parents too busy to notice, marks in school plummet... etc. The end could have also been something predictable – another rape, another banal statistic, another headline till the next disaster. Except here, the teenager Sikha has some alert friends who share her changed behavior with the teacher who manages to save Sikha by chance. Luck doesn’t come knocking on your door every day. In a short-film entitled Online Predators made by Bodhini, a civil society group and narrated by noted Malayalam actress Parvathi, we are taken without drama and drumbeat through what has now become such a “normal” experience that we have stopped to notice it.  The documentary is in Malayalam, but as it also carries subtitles, anyone can watch and understand it. In Kerala alone one out of seven adolescents got sexual messages online. In 2013 7000 adolescents between the ages of 13-17 were victims of sexual crimes and violence, many lured into it just like Sikha without her last minute luck. Online Predators is also an extended public service announcement and story alerting all of us to keep vigil on predators all around us – at home, in schools, within our circle of friends and especially online. If what we have brought to through this sounds like one more of the same thing, then the damage is deeper than we thought.