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Cyber woes rise during summer vacations

Come summer vacations and parents have more reasons to worry. Kids apart form picking a fight with other kids or breaking windowpanes may also invite trouble over the Internet.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2010 13:51 IST

Come summer vacations and parents have one more reason to worry about for their naughty children, who apart form picking a fight with other kids or breaking a neighbour's window pane while playing cricket, could also innocently invite trouble over the Internet.

During school holidays kids are likely to spend more time on the Internet than perhaps they normally do and thus become an easy prey for cyber criminals, say internet security experts.

Besides being exposed to malware, online scams and illegal content, including pornography, innocent children also have threatened by online stalkers who indulge in cyber bullying and identity theft.

"Children and youth present a vulnerable target. As most schools in India are closed for vacations, it is obvious that the youth will have more time on hand to surf the web, with little or no supervision.

Although they are internet-savvy and increasingly use the medium to gather information, for socialising and recreation, yet they are naive and inexperienced," cautions Siobhan MacDermott, senior vice-president of security software maker AVG Technologies.

With ready access to the Internet through their home computers, schools and even cyber-cafes and mobile phones, teens and pre-teens are increasingly spending their time online.

According to a survey conducted by the TCS across 12 Indian cities last year, 63 per cent of urban students spend over an hour online daily and 62 per cent have a personal computer at home.

Over 80 per cent find time for the internet alongside school, classes and extra-curricular activities, and are starting to embrace Web 2.0 tools like blogs and social networking sites, the report says.

As internet penetration increases, cyber crime cells across the country are increasingly receiving complaints of children being victimised on the World Wide Web.

"Teenagers can easily be lured to reveal their personal details and credit card information leading to siphoning off money from accounts. Besides they might also be exposed to content against their family values," warns Sanjay Bahl, chief security officer of software maker Microsoft India.

First Published: Apr 29, 2010 12:23 IST