Every second child on internet in urban India feels unsafe while around 16 per cent receive inappropriate messages online, a new study has revealed.
According to a survey conducted by mobile operator Telenor India’s ‘WebWise’ — a flagship programme on children’s cyber safety and security — around 99 per cent schoolchildren in urban India use internet, of whom 25 per cent have experienced hacking of their accounts.
The survey was conducted over Facebook with 320 respondents primarily from India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand and other Asian countries.
The survey targeted Facebook users from 18-64 age group with stated interests in parenting, family issues, child welfare and online security.
Over 22 per cent of respondents’ children were the target of hostile and rude comments and profanity online while 29 per cent of respondents said that being cyberbullied affected the child negatively and it was ‘depressed’ for a time.
Forty-six per cent of the respondents said that they speak to their children ‘all the time’ about internet and online behaviour, followed by 39 per cent who discussed this ‘some times’. Only 12 per cent said they had never spoken about this topic.
However, a large segment of Asian adults feels empowered and aware enough to address online safety with youth.
Twenty-four per cent of respondents said that the situation made the children more alert and able to defend themselves online and the same number of respondents said the children did not seem to be affected, seven per cent even saying that the online bullying ‘inspired the child to then help other victims’.
“Across Asia, we see examples of awareness-building efforts — on the part of our company and many others — reaching scores of children, parents and school teachers and we hope this is leading to more resilience against online mistreatment,” said Zainab Hussain Siddiqui, Director, Social Responsibility, Telenor Group.
Researchers believe that education must be imparted among youths to make them aware of how to be secure online and avoid being bullied.