National security under threat | By Ali Sukhanver

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National security under threat

SOMEWHERE in 2018 the police department issued a report on the increasing number of missing girls allegedly kidnapped, abducted or forcibly married.

The report indicated that the penetration of mobile phones and social media networks is one of the basic elements responsible for this worsening situation.

According to the Police files, in 2018 during a period of two and a half months i. e. from 1st January to15th March more than 80 cases were reported in which the missing girls were misguided and betrayed for the purpose via social media.

In 2017, the total number was somewhere around 160 in the whole year. In most of the cases, it was revealed that most of the victim girls were trapped on FaceBook and so many others were ensnared through text messages from anonymous phone numbers.

Usually in all such cases, the story started in a very romantic way and most of the time ended up in the form of sexual assaults, blackmailing, forced marriages and elopement.

Certainly the burden of responsibility in missing-girls’ cases goes on to the shoulders of the parents too because either they don’t try to trace or they fail to know who their girls are in contact with on social media.

“Who is playing with your children; you must know”, said a senior police officer talking to the media men during investigation of an elopement case.

He further added that some parents adopt a very harsh and rigid attitude when they come to know that their girl is in an illegal relationship with someone unknown to them; but usually it all happens when it is too late.

Psychologists advise that the parents must keep a vigilant eye on their children’s activities on social media in a tender way and must maintain a check on whom they are interacting with.

The generation gap and distance between parents and the children is not appreciable rather recommendable in this present era.

It is simply parents’ lack of concentration on their children which compels the children to find companionship of someone who could satisfy their desire of being loved and cared for.

It is the sole responsibility of the parents to treat their children with tenderness while maintaining a check on whom they are interacting with.

“Furthermore the parents must monitor the change in their children’s attitude while also remaining careful not to be so harsh that the children start looking for sympathy elsewhere and become more susceptible to romantic involvement which could be detrimental.

” says an analyst on child psychology. The use of social media requires a lot of care and caution.

With the passage of time the social media tools including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and to some extent WatsApp sometimes become more disastrous than a nuclear bomb.

Experts on world defence affairs are of the opinion that the Third World War, if ever starts, would not be fought with the help of traditional weapons and not in battlefields; it would be fought with the social media tools and dif-ferent social media forums would be used as a battlefield.

Be it a country, a school of thought, a political party, an individual or some institution, even today people are using different social media tools to malign the image of all those whom they do not like.

In the countries with a lower education rate, the situation in this regard is more horrible. Usually the educated strata of a society intentionally tries to be law-abiding to some extent but the case with an uneducated mob of people is always with somewhat different behaviour.

In Pakistan, it is a very common practice that the social media users keep on forwarding and sharing different posts they receive on social media without checking their authenticity.

A lot of such applications are available which could help the experts in changing the face of a body, create fake voice notes and even make someone dance.

In the last few months there has been a storm of leaked audio and video clips in Pakistan. These clips had been continuously under discussion at different forums and unfortunately the people involved in such types of discussion never bother about the authenticity of the material under their discussion.

This ir-responsible attitude simply becomes a source of spreading disinformation and misinformation.

On the basis of fake social media information, the ‘uneducated experts’ simply start rending very serious issues including nuclear assets, war strategy, situation on Pak-Afghan border, Kashmir movement, economy, current account deficit, politics and even Pakistan’s so-called drifting towards financial default.

In most of the cases, the people involved in such sensitive and serious discussion don’t even know the basic meanings of the terms they discuss.

One day I had an opportunity to listen to a self-claimed Motivational Speaker who was vehemently analyzing the situation of a country’s ‘current account deficit’.

He had no answer when I asked him if he could explain what technically Current Account Deficit is.

Just to stop me from asking more questions, he said, “There are two types of banking accounts in Pakistan; the saving accounts and the current accounts; when the profit rate on current accounts starts falling down, it is called Current Account Deficit”.

Certainly such types of scholars and philosophers are the product of present day social media.

This situation demands a very active role of the institutions responsible for keeping a check on use of social media.

Defamation laws must be observed in a very serious way. Giving a free hand to Vlogers, Bloggers and TicTokers could prove a serious threat to the security of our country.

—The writer is Principal of a Government College and senior columnist, based in Multan.