India’s metro teens have moved to the Web: TCS survey

03rd August 2009
India’s metro teens have moved to the Web: TCS survey

A first-off-its-kind survey covering urban Indian teenagers finds they are one jump  ahead of adults in embracing and leveraging the Web.    More than six in ten, have access to a personal computer at home and  spend at least an hour everyday, surfing the Internet.   They prefer iPods and other music players to digital cameras… but the mobile phone, followed by the home PC is their primary personal appliance.  
Indicating how India’s youth already reflect global trends a step or two ahead of their elders, the Web – especially Google – has overtaken print media and TV as their primary source of information.   In Bangalore hardly 15 percent of the young read newspapers.
Kolkata students ( 77% of them) lead the nation in using the combo of Google+Wikipedia. But their their interesting pockets – like Kochi -- where the neighbourhood library still  attracts a good chunk – 14%-- of young readers.   
Almost all of them – 93 % -- are aware of social networking; and Orkut is the most popular   of the networking resources.   Bangalore is the blogging capital of India, with almost seven  of ten students running a blog.
The Web 2.0 Generation” survey  covered 14,000 high school children  -- mostly in English medium schools --between the ages of 12-18 in 12 metros and mini metros  across India during 2008-09. 
It was   conducted by India’s number one Information Technology services company, TCS.
The survey finds in summary that “urban school children in the metros and mini-metros are immersed online and have the technology at hand to access information through the net at all times. Over 80% have access to mobile phones, find time for the internet alongside school, classes and extra-curricular activities, and are starting to embrace Web 2.0 tools like blogs and social networking sites”.
Says TCS CEO S. Ramadorai: “Nearly one out of 10 people on the planet are under 25 years old and living in India.  That is the significance of India’s next generation and what they do, think and aspire to hold insights for all those who aim to engage with this Web2.0 Generation”.
Key findings:
·       63% of urban students spend over an hour online daily
·       93% are aware of social networking
·       Orkut and Facebook are most popular online destinations
·       46% use online sources to access news; TV, Newspaper users at 25%
·       62% have a personal computer at home
·       1 in 4 students own lap-tops in metros; 2 of 3 own music players
·       IT and engineering remain overwhelming popular career choices
·       Media & Entertainment, Travel and Tourism are emerging careers
·       USA, UK top list of international destinations for higher studies
The survey categorises Indian students into four types:
The Globetrotter: Has  global ambitions and wants to study and work abroad.  However many students, though keen to study abroad and gain global exposure are also keen to bring skills back to India and put them to use here. 
The Gadgetphile:   Loves gadgets and aspires to have the latest products available.  The i-Pod Indian is more likely to be found with access to a web enabled mobile, the latest gaming console, i-Pods and if he/she doesn’t have one, then aspires to own an i-Phone. 
The Nation-Builder:  Focused on his/her career but is as much interested in the additional benefits that careers brings such as travel, learning new skills, experience to be gained, interesting workplace and salary.  The Nation-Builder is optimistic about Indian companies and favours them over the most popular international MNCs.
The Social networker: A true digital native;is likely to have as many online friends as real ones and these friendships go beyond the traditional boundaries of gender, caste, and geographies; This child could mark the start of a new democracy where he/she reaches out to more people through social networks. 
The nation’s IT capital has its special flavour:        
Bangalore is the blogging capital of India, with 66% of students being part of blogging / social networking scene, against 39% nationally. Bangalore (9%) kids are most attracted to Secondlife, MySpace, and Podcasting, highest in India. The city has the highest (91%) iPod/ digital music player penetration nationally…. And the lowest number (15%) of students using newspaper for information access across all cities.
INDIATECHONLINE’S TAKE: Admittedly, this survey was restricted to a somewhat privileged sector of Indian  society: the urban or semi urban, English-educated young. Unsurprisingly their lifestyle, attitudes and priorities are on par with in the so-called developed economies. But let’s face it, in the great global job ‘mandi’ or market, these kids will have an edge –over other Indian children, equally skilled, talented, motivated , whose parents are being denied the right to choose the school system for their young or even the right to say: I want my son or daughter to be second to none in opportunity – even if it means an early start with an English language education. 
Ironically, Karnataka, the state whose kids, the survey shows, are at the frontline in embracing and harnessing the Web,  has been fighting  a  battle through to courts for decades, trying to throttle parental aspirations for their children, if they presume to arm them with the international leverage of English. Sadly, this week, as DNA daily reports, Monday morning, at least five other states --Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa  -- are in a knee jerk reaction “considering joining in the legal battle as impleaders to safeguard their own language policies, and ensure that their respective state languages are the mediums of instruction in primary schools. ( )
These parochial and politically motivated administrators  should read the TCS survey findings: It will show them that their children have a rather better idea of what is good for them. We are not for one moment suggesting that the Web is some sort of English-only space…. But  let’s face IT, 80 percent of the content out there is in English. ‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings”.. we are used to saying, when kids say profound things. Today, in shrewdly embracing the worldwide web, they are doing IT, not just saying it. We need to listen.
For a 21 page PDF documents with the main findings:
( Bangalore, Aug 4 2009)