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Children busy online? Might be meeting bullies

With an estimated 100 million children in the country set to go online by 2017, Indian parents are worried their kids may become victims of cyber bullying and online predators, a survey revealed on Thursday.

sex and relationships Updated: Mar 10, 2016 19:16 IST
Cyber security
Twenty-one percent of Indian parents said in a survey that an adult who their child knew only online, tried to meet them in the real world. (Shutterstock)

With an estimated 100 million children in the country set to go online by 2017, Indian parents are worried their kids may become victims of cyber bullying and online predators, a survey revealed on Thursday.

According to Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report – Family Edition, 57% of the Indian parents surveyed (vs 52% globally) said they are worried that their children will be lured into meeting a stranger they met online.

Also, 21% of Indian parents indicated that an adult who their child didn’t know personally, tried to meet them in the real world (vs 9% globally), the report said.

“According to a BCG study, in India about 100 million children will come online by 2017. This is a great opportunity for millions as Internet can open a world of possibilities for them through digital education, health, governance and business growth,” Ritesh Chopra, India Country Manager of Norton by Symantec said.

However, one needs to be cognizant that this also poses a risk by exposing children and youngsters to cyber bullying, stalking and identity theft to name a few cyber threats, he added.

According to the report, 62% of Indian parents surveyed indicated their child has experienced a form of online crime as against a global average of 51%.

“The report found that one in three Indian parents believe their child will be a victim of online bullying, considerably higher than global average. In fact, close to one in two parents believe their children are safer from bullies on a playground than online,” Chopra said.

Not surprising then that Indian parents are 20% more likely to limit their child’s online activities, he said.

Three in five Indian parents report their child has experienced a form of online crime. Of these, millennial parents (75%) and fathers (67%) in India are more likely to report their child as a victim, a report said. (Shutterstock)

The survey said Indian parents are also more likely to take action to protect their children online.

Three in five Indian parents report their child has experienced a form of online crime. Of these, millennial parents (75%) and fathers (67%) in India are more likely to report their child as a victim, the report said.

More than half (55%) limit the amount of information they post about their children on social networks, while 53% said they limit the amount of information their children can post on their social profiles, it added.

“There are other steps as well. Some limit access to certain websites, while others allow Internet access only with parental supervision,” Chopra said.

He further said that parents need to have an open dialogue with children to discuss appropriate online behaviour.

Read: India among most vulnerable nations to cyber attacks

“They should spend some time educating children regularly about the dangers of the Internet and create awareness around issues such as sexting, cyberbullying, online predators and privacy. They should make sure that the children are not sharing private information like passwords, addresses and phone numbers with people they don’t know,” he said.