News : Children Found Misusing 103 Helpline
Feb 20, 2014 -- Kids often call up the police seeking phone numbers of celebrities or to complain about the volume of their homework.
The 103 helpline, meant for senior citizens, women and children, has, of late, turned out to be a sort of stress buster for some of the policemen attending it, as they keep receiving over 100 prank calls a day, mostly from children raising innocuous demands or complaining about their parents and teachers.
While the cops try to keep the conversation short and try to find a feasible solution to the issues raised by kids, on many occasions they cannot help but break into a smile at the innocent nature of the demands.
A policemen posted with the helpline said that children often called them with strange complaints, mostly against their parents or teachers. While some say their parents do not allow them to watch television, others complain about their teachers giving them too much homework, which leave them with little time to play or watch television. And the most number of calls they get are from children seeking the phone numbers of celebrities.
"Children call us seeking to clarify doubts on the school syllabus; sometimes they want us to help them with their homework. With both their parents working, children have nowhere to turn to in such circumstances. Sometimes it is refreshing for us, as it is a sort of entertainment. None of the staff is ever rude to children, but we always try to cut short the conversation," a police constable with the helpline said on condition of anonymity.
The helpline received 222 calls of serious nature concerning children in 2013, and 176 in 2012. Such calls are often tip-offs on child labour or about parents beating or scolding children.
However, this is of concern to many parents in the city. Ours is a country where parents are supposed to have a say in whatever children do. People take it for granted that they have the right to beat, scold their children as the situation demands. However, of late, neighbours have started calling the helpline to report such incidents, apparently making it difficult for parents to 'correct' their children.
Some senior officers are of the view that the helpline should only be used for passing on serious information based on which action can be taken. "Children should be made to understand that calling the helpline for fun would mean hindering someone with a serious problem from approaching the police," said Sanjay Barkund, deputy commissioner of police (operations).
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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