Kollam: Electric cables getting burnt, appliances malfunctioning, abusive and premonitory WhatsApp messages, were just some of the weird experiences a family in Kottarakkara area of this southern Kerala district were going through for past several months and only after the police intervened that the culprit was found to be a member of the family -- a 14-year old boy.
The obvious questions that come to mind are why he did all that and from where he got the knowledge for it. The police say the boy himself could not give a satisfactory reply to the first and on being asked he just said that he felt like it.
Regarding the second, police said that the boy got all the information and knowledge to harass his family from a popular social media platform -- YouTube, which also brings to the fore a need to monitor the mobile and internet usage of youngsters.
Warning messages on WhatsApp
Police said that according to the boy's aunt, who recently returned from a Gulf nation, she used to get messages on WhatsApp, from her mother's number, that the TV was going to explode or the wiring was going to get burned and the same would then happen.
However, some of these were exaggerated, a senior police officer told PTI.
The burning of the electric wiring or the TV getting damaged occurred much before she came back to India and she never received any messages regarding that, he said.
The messages she got were that the fan in her room would stop now or the lights there would go off or the water in the overhead tank would spillover soon, all of which the boy was sending and then he would carry out these acts by switching off the same from the main power box, the officer said.
The teenager also sent messages containing abusive and inappropriate language and when she would ask who was sending her the texts, he would say the name of her husband with whom her relations were strained.
The boy also placed in the home a bluetooth dongle belonging to the aunt's husband to know what was happening.
When the family complained to police and the cyber cell examined the matter, it was found that whenever the messages were sent from the boy's grandmother's phone, the mobile was with him.
"The search history of the phone revealed that the teenager was looking for information and videos on how to hack phones, damage appliances, unlock phones, abusive and inappropriate content and much more," the officer said.
He further said that the conduct of the teenager was not one of a child of his age, but someone much older and this was due to the adverse influence of the unsupervised use of mobile phones and the internet.