Mumbai, May 14, 2022: Indian children are among the youngest worldwide, to reach 'mobile maturity': their smartphone usage at the age of 10 to 14 is 83%, which is 7% above the international average of 76%. This is a key finding of cyber security leader McAfee, in a first-ever 'Global Connected Family Study', conducted across 10 countries including India. While the concern is relatively low amongst parents, 22% of Indian children experienced cyberbullying at some time which is 5% higher than the global average of 17%.
The study uncovers stark differences globally, in attitudes and actions families take to protect their loved ones and explains how those most vulnerable may be left under-protected.
Released on the eve of International Day of Families, May 15, McAfee’s study reveals that parents take more precautions, such as installing antivirus software, using password protection, or sticking to reputable online stores when shopping, on their own devices than they do on their children’s connected devices. For instance, while 56% of parents globally said that they protect their smartphone with a password or passcode, only 42% said they do the same for their child’s smartphone.
Says Sachin Puri, Vice President of Marketing, McAfee: “Children in India report among the highest exposure to online risks. As a key part of this research study, we want to equip parents with the knowledge necessary to succeed as effective online protectors for their connected families. We aim to bring light to actions which parents need to take to counteract online risks such as cyberbullying, online identity theft and leaks of financial information.”
Other findings of the 2022 McAfee Connected Family Study
With early connection, come early risks such as unauthorized use of their personal data – which included spam, fraud, or attempts to send viruses to their contacts. Again, the highest rates were found in India where 24% of kids between 10-14 reported such risks as compared to the global average of 12%.
Indian families reported their experiences with other online threats, indicating issues with online privacy and security—and at a much greater rate than other families worldwide. India parents reported the attempted theft of online accounts at 33% which is 5% higher than parents worldwide at 28%. There was a significant 11% higher mark for children who reported thefts at 26% in India compared to the global average of 15%.
What exactly are tweens and teens doing online?
India, tweens and teens put their smartphones and gaming consoles as preferred devices at the top of their list.
From clearing browser history to omitting details about what they are doing online, more than half of children (59%) act to hide their online activity across the globe.In India, the number of children reporting private conversations without knowing a person’s real identity was a noteworthy 11% higher than for other children around the world.22% of children in India experienced cyberbullying at some time which is strikingly 5% higher than the global average of 17%.
Do girls experience more dangers online?
Parents appear to see boys and girls differently when it comes to protecting them online. An apparent gender bias finds girls more protected than boys, yet it’s boys who encounter more issues online.Globally, 23% of parents say they will check the browsing and email history on the PCs of their daughters aged 10 to 14, and for boys, it’s only 16%. The disparity appears again, with 22% of parents restricting access to certain sites for girls and only 16% for boys.
Consistent with the global trend in India, 44% of girls have parental controls software installed on computers compared to 40% of boys, a modest 4% difference. In India, 55% parents of girls aged 10-14 are more likely to check their calls and texts as compared to parents of boys at 52%.
So, what can connected families do ?
-Create an environment for open and transparent conversations about online activity. Understanding the habits and behaviors of family members online will help guide how best to approach and protect family units—whether that be limiting time on gaming devices or installing software.
- Educate children about dangerous online behaviors such as clearing chat history or visiting unsafe sites.
Find the detailed India Report here.