Unrestricted access to mobile phones among teenagers puts them at risk of being victims as well as perpetrators of cybercrime, revealed a recent perception survey. While 62% of the respondents believed that teenagers are more likely to be victims of cybercrime, 54% feared they might indulge in hacking, leaking inappropriate photos or videos of their friends when they access internet.
The survey recorded views of 1,006 people above 16 years from all walks of life across 14 cities. Nearly 30% of the sample size consisted of parents of teenagers between 13 to 16 years.
An average Indian checks his phone nearly 41 times a day and downloads at least 20 apps on his smartphones or tablets, indicating high-level of dependency on the gadget, said the survey. This dependency is higher among teens.
Twice as many respondents from Mumbai (40%) compared to Delhi (19%) find teenagers “more likely” to be cyber-stalked and get their email accounts hacked (39%). But 38% of the respondents from Mumbai said teens perpetrate hacking of personal information such as emails; 24.5% practice cyber-bullying via posts on social media or texts. Around 27% hold the view that teenagers are responsible for posting ‘revenge porn’, which refers to inappropriate videos of former partners or classmates with a malicious intent. “There is no doubt that teenagers are one of the biggest users of mobile devices in India. As ‘digital natives’ they face various mobile security challenges – as victim and as perpetrators,” said Ritesh Chopra, country manager, Symantec Norton, which commissioned the survey.
Faced with such challenges, parents need to explore ways of monitoring online activities and restricting their access to the internet. “With mobile devices, children are able to access internet anywhere, parents need to talk to them about the pitfalls of the internet and cyber security,” said Chopra.