Educating Parents in Digital Era

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Abha Mahajan
Recently, many instances have come to the fore that emphasize the fact that excessive access to the technology has led to increased risk of getting trapped by fraudsters.
If we compare the life before CORONA times to present times, the following points get highlighted:
The studies were done in off-line mode, as compared to online at present.
The screen time of school going kids was minimal, which has increased many times recently.
The dependence on internet in day-to-day life was minimal, as compared to today.
Recently, the no. of online games being launched has increased, that lure the kids towards doing online payments, one after the other.
Analyzing all this, makes one believe that online technologies and access of internet has become an indispensable part of one’s life and we have become dependent on it for day-to-day activities. This calls for education for all w.r.t. cyber safety. This article is specifically for education the parents of young children. For this, here are some recent cases, where the accounts of the elders got misused without getting them to know.
A pension holder grandfather GF, used to get all the debit/credit messages of his pension account on his mobile. Being in family and not tech-savvy, GF used to share his phone with his grandchild GC very often. During random scrolls of the mobile messages of GF, GC get to know all the account details of his GF and by any way got his ATM card also, which he later used in purchases in online games amounting to around 2.5 lakhs. The OTP messages and the messages regarding debit amount were deleted on spot by GC. GF never got to know until he once later on used his account, only to find out multiple debits from the account.
An educated mother, because of being busy with household chores, used to tell her 14-yr old to make various payments online through her ATM Card, on her behalf. Here, the card number, Expiry date, CVV and OTP were all shared with the child by her own wish. The child being immature and being into online gaming, later kept using the card details for online purchases in gaming sites. The OTP and debit messages were deleted from mothers mobile, so she did not get to check her account details for many days when an off-the-time message made her suspicious and she checked the mini-statement of her account. Only, at this time, she came to know about the various regular transactions.
In both the above case studies, the below cited loopholes have worked:
Do, we as parents would ever keep our lakhs of rupees in the hands of our young and immature children. The answer is NO. So, an ATM card is the same cash in digital format. The card is having the same value as the amount in our purses and in our bank accounts. We keep purses/wallets in almirah under lock and key. Same should be the case with this digital cash. It needs locker. It is not to be shared with kids, especially the younger kids, who love gaming. These young kids donot actually understand the value of digital cash. It is one-click and the transfer is done. The cash turns into their reward points. All of us, dealing with digital cash, must acknowledge that we tend to spend more when we have to make payments through cards, as compared to when dealing with cash. It is the mindset. Young minds who have not seen/done huge cash payment in their lifespan, donot know actually how this transfer takes place and what actually happens when online purchases of any kind are done. This is lack of awareness and digital education.
Hence, all the parent are required to take note of the below points while dealing with digital cash and online transactions;
* Always keep your card details secret. Donot share these with anyone. Especially, with the kids who are playing online games. It’s a parent’s duty not to give them a chance.
* Memorize the CVV of the card and then remove it from card. It is required, while transacting online.
* Keep your phone locked with password so that access to messages relating to your bank account are not accessible to anyone.
* Keep an eye on the kids online activities. Talk to kids regarding what they are doing. Let them have a habit of sharing things with the parent.
* Tell them, the case studies as discussed above. They must know, how the online transactions work. Educating the kids is very important.
* Keep checking your bank account transactions and balances on regular basis. Any suspicious entry should be reported and got checked by the bank. Checking Mini-statement regularly is a good option.
* Also, another important point to understand is the concept of “Card Present (CP) and Card Not Present (CNP) transactions ” : A CP transaction is a card transaction that is carried out through physical presence of card at the point of transaction. It is also known as face-to-face or a proximity payment transaction. Eg an ATM or a PoS terminal transaction. A CNP transaction does not require the card to be physically presented at the point of transaction. It is also called as a remote transaction. Online transactions come in this CNP category.
A customer must analyze his card usage and accordingly enable/disable CNP transactions, through the respective bank.
Following measures of RBI in this regards, in order to Enhance Security of Card Transactions, must also be kept in mind and used accordingly. RBI has given these guidelines to the banks allover India to avoid the misuse of funds/fraudulent transactions in the accounts.
a) At the time of issue / re-issue, all cards (physical and virtual) shall be enabled for use only at contact based points of usage [viz. ATMs and Point of Sale (PoS) devices] within India. Issuers shall provide cardholders a facility for enabling card not present (domestic and international) transactions, card present (international) transactions and contactless transactions.
b) For existing cards, issuers may take a decision, based on their risk perception, whether to disable the card not present (domestic and international) transactions, card present (international) transactions and contactless transaction rights. Existing cards which have never been used for online (card not present) / international / contactless transactions shall be mandatorily disabled for this purpose.
c) Additionally, the issuers shall provide to all cardholders:
i. facility to switch on/off and set/modify transaction limits (within the overall card limit, if any, set by the issuer) for all types of transactions – domestic and international, at PoS / ATMs / online transactions/contactless transactions, etc.;
ii. the above facility on a 24×7 basis through multiple channels-mobile application/internet banking/ATMs/ Interactive Voice Response (IVR); this may also be offered at branches / offices; alerts / information / status, etc., through SMS / e-mail, as and when there is any change in status of the card.
Final Words: This is not mistrusting our own kids, but this is saving them, ourselves and hard earned money from online traps and misdeeds. We, all remain vigilant and do every possible thing so that the kids don’t fall trap to anything bad like drugs. Online stuff is also addictive. The kids are being lured every second with online trending materials, gaming, and peer pressure. They need our guidance. We need to be vigilant and keep an eye on the online activities.
( The author is a Computer Engineer and a Technocrat)