From left: Anindita Mishra- Cybermum McAfee India , Dr. Sulata Shenoy- Child psychologist, Sangeeta Gopal- Celebrity parent , Abhishek Goenka- Bangalore teenager, Venkatsubramanyam Krishnapur- Senior Director , Engineering, McAfee India, at the event in Bangalore, June 22 2011, to release the McAfee –Synovate study
||Secret cyberlife of the Indian child: a McAfee study
62% of all polled kids have shared personal information online.
58% kids share their home addresses on the internet.
39% of all polled kids do not tell their parents about these online activities
12% of all polled kids had been victims of some kind of cyber threat.
These are the disturbing numbers thrown up by a survey of Indian children's activities online. Net Security specialist, McAfee recently commissioned Synovate, to conduct a comprehensive research titled ‘How safe are Indian kids online?’ across 10 cities -- New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ludhiana, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Cochin -- covering 500 children and 496 parents. Here are key findings:
Ownership of devices: Overall, kids across cities have significant levels of ownership in terms of devices. Except for Hyderabad (64%), Ahmedabad (38%) and Pune (52%), an average of 80% kids in every other city had a personal computer that belonged solely to them. Over all 69% kids had phones of their own, 19% of which were smart phones.
Multiple access points: Kids are using various devices to access internet. While an average of 91% kids across cities use the PC, there is increasing adoption of devices like laptops (26%), mobile phones (31%). An average of 98% kids across cities access internet from homes implying the opportunity that parents have to be more involved in their children’s online activities. Apart from homes, there are other access points such as cyber cafes, friends’ homes and school that are also used by kids for internet access.
Choosing virtual friends over real friends: 33% of kids in the age group of 4-8 years spend 2-4 hours socializing with friends online while none of them spend the same amount of time with friends face to face.
Personal information exchange online: Overall, 62% kids polled from affluent households admitted to having shared personal information online. Out of this number, 58% shared their home address, 57% shared their school details, 70% shared personal photographs and videos and 12% even shared their parents’ credit card details!
Sharing details with Mom and Dad: While a healthy 60% kids claim to tell their parent about their online activities the incidence of secrecy is higher among the older age group of 13-17 years, 42% of whom do not openly share their online activities with their parents.
Do you watch adult content: 21% admitted to being exposed to adult content. The highest recorded percentage for this parameter is 40% in Mumbai followed by 28% in Bangalore. Threat awareness and victimisation levels: 32% kids were not aware of any online threats i.e cyber hacking, cyber stalking, cyber bullying and identity thefts. Girls were relatively more aware than boys on each of these parameters. 12% kids admitted to have been victims of cyber attacks. Hyderabad recorded the highest score of 34% on this aspect.
Awareness and adoption of security products:Half of the polled kids were not aware of any security products that could protect them from online dangers. Delhi recorded the lowest awareness with 76% of kids having no idea of such products. 44% kids did not have a security solution installed on their PCs/laptops.
Papa don’t preach: Kids and parents tend to differ greatly on the level of monitoring by parents: Only 19% parents believe that they are strict whereas an average of 32% of kids across age groups believe their parents are strict. 43% parents believe they are responsible (middle path) while only 28% kids believe this. 20% of all kids polled feel frustrated by their parents’ over protective attitude. While 40% kids believe that their parents are liberal about internet usage, surprisingly a massive 67% of the kids in the 4-8 year age group believe this to be true indicating that there parents of younger kids are seen as more liberal by their kids.
Are parents being responsible enough? Providing devices to kids:44% of parents claim that staying in touch with their kids is the primary reason for giving them a smart phone – this need is more intense among the parents of 4-8 year olds with 69% of the parents citing this reason.
Peer pressure is also a significant factor driving 38% of parents to give their kids a smart phone. Peer pressure is felt most intensely among parents of 9-12 years with 44% of them succumbing for this reason. Parents of the 13-17 year age group of kids surprisingly tend to give their kids regular mobile phones (30%) as compared to smart phones (14%).
Usage pattern: 100% of all parents with kids between 4-8 years allowed them access to the internet signifying that even the youngest demographic of children are given access easily. In Delhi, over 50% parents allow their kids to spend more than 10 hours a day.
Parents’ awareness levels.
Awareness of threats: Overall, 57% parents are aware of cyber hacking as a threat whereby New Delhi has 100% awareness quotient amongst parents for this threat. Only 20% parents knew of terminologies such as cyber stalking and cyber hacking. Parents specifically from Ahmedabad were the least aware of any form of online threat. While hacking as a threat resonated with 66% of the parents surveyed, only 2% parents had heard about new age online threats such as cyber stalking and cyber bullying.
Awareness on their kids’ online activities: Of the 62% of parents who are completely or somewhat aware of their kids’ activities on Facebook, Twitter etc. 75% believe that playing games is their key activity. This figure stands at 79% for parents of 9-12 year olds. That said, 25% of the parents of 8-12 yr olds also said that their children had gaming consoles while 26% of the kids of this age group claiming to have internet connectivity on their consoles.
Handholding kids to be safe online: Do parents trust their children online: Only 25% of parents trust their children online without monitoring them. The survey showed that the levels of trust increase as the kids get older. That said a massive 77% had no idea about special child protection softwares available on the market.
Do they counsel children enough: The survey found that a healthy 73% parents counseled their children on the do’s and don’ts of using internet. Some bad performers in this respect are cities such as Ludhiana that scored the least with only 10% of parents counseling their kids on internet hazards. The disparity is despite the fact that 96% parents in Ludhiana are concerned that their kids may be misguided on the internet. A natural extension of this finding is that none of the interviewed parents in Ludhiana were aware of online security software to monitor kids’ activities online. Ludhiana therefore emerges as a city with amongst the least levels of parent involvement with regard to their kids’ online safety despite the 100% internet penetration among the households polled.
Transparency between kids and parents- Only 32% parents are completely aware of the information shared by their kids online. Bangalore and Ludhiana scored the lowest on the awareness level of parents with regard to their kids’ online activities with only 10% and 2% respectively whereas Pune had the highest transparency levels at 84%.
Parental concerns: 56% parents are concerned about their children being misguided online, strangely this fear is higher among the parents of 13-17 year olds (69%). That said, 42% of the parents of 4-8 year olds were concerned that their children could be exposed to adult material while this number stood at 33% for parents of 13-17 yr olds.
Technology reliance: Broadly, while 54% parents have a generic security software on their PCs, a massive 77% are unaware of the specific software’s available to monitor child safety online. Of the 23% parents who claimed to know of special child protection softwares, a deeper inspection revealed that their only recall was for broad security products.
Delhi kids have maximum device ownership: 100% kids had a PC and gaming console. 90% of them had laptops and 64% had tablets. 100% kids were asked for their personal information online.
100% kids shared home address, school details, home address and contact details.
76% kids were unaware of any security software products available to protect them from online threats . 70% kids stated that their parents were most liberal in keeping checks on their children’s online activities
BANGALORE 79% kids shared school details.
64% kids were members of online communities.
The highest percentage of internet access from cyber cafes is Bangalore at 58%. 62% kids have their own gaming consoles.
100% cyber fraud cases reported amongst kids.
28% kids are exposed to adult content on the internet .
92% kids did not have any security software installed on their system.
MUMBAI: The city with the highest victimisation levels with 100% kids being victims of cyber hacking, cyber frauds and identity theft.
Mumbai had the highest cyber bullying levels reported amongst kids - 33%.
Highest recorded percentage of kids watching adult content at 40% with the 4-8 year olds having highest exposure at 33%
“These findings are extremely relevant from the perspective of Indian parents. As the internet evolves into a new platform for self expression and social interaction, children are indiscriminately indulging in information exchange leading to an increasing rate of cyber exploits. The introduction of technologies like McAfee Family Protection is a step in the right direction as it enables us parents to understand, handhold and mould our children’s online persona and behavior”, said Anindita Mishra, McAfee Cybermum India.
The company offers its product McAfee Family Protection, a parental control program that protects children of all ages from online risks while allowing them the freedom to safely explore the Internet ( Rs 2270 for 1 year three PCs).
June 27 2011