As more and more kids get onto the Internet at progressively younger ages, it is becoming difficult for their parents to keep up with their activities, thus falling short of protecting the child. An unguided child has a high risk of falling prey to cyber bullying and according to a dipstick survey conducted by McAfee, this is indeed the case.
The survey was conducted with 500 children within the age group of 9 to 17 across 10 different cities. The broad findings are that 62% of these children shared their personal info on the internet while 38% of the parents had no clue as to what their children were doing online. 58% of these children shared their home address on the web while some 12% have been victims of some kind of cyber threat.
Of all the cities that were polled Mumbai has the highest levels of cyber bullying and kids watching adult content on the Internet. While 79% of the parents polled in Chennai acknowledged that their children had email accounts, 39% said that they were unaware of their children’s online activity. Almost 75% of the Chennai kids have a mobile phone while only 6% are aware of cyber stalking and bullying.
Anindita Mishra of McAfee Cybermum India said, “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 child-lock technologies and protection technologies is a step in the right direction as it enables parents to understand, handhold and mould our children’s online persona and behavior.”
Parents should be made aware of some parental lock software and well as up-to-date security software which can fight these intrusions. Children should be educated about the Internet and its possibilities as well as its disadvantages.
We think the major chunk of this Internet education should be in the school curriculum so that the child can learn about it even if their parents lack the knowledge.