23 June 2011

Are Indian children safe online?

The flip side of the internet and social network boom is quite dangerous and scary, and children are the most vulnerable section in this segment. They are naive and innocent, hence develops the trust factor easily. In this era of technology your child needs to be introduced with the latest technological updates, websites, gaming platform and you cannot stop them. The solution to this dilemma is to monitor your child activities online and the amount of information that he is passing on to other people and public. However Indian parents are hardly aware of the prevailing internet boom. A survey was conducted by MacAfee with Synovate on how safe are Indian children online and the outcome revealed interesting data. The report stated that 100 percent kids use internet in urban area but only 57 percent of parents are aware of cyber hacking as a threat.

Among the children, 50 percent of them admitted that they had absolutely no idea about security software, 62 percent had no idea if they had security software installed and 32 percent had no idea of cyber crime.

Today, children deal with smartphones, tablets and variety of connectivity based devices. Most of the kids have an account on Facebook, twitter or on any other social networking site. This has made virtualization level very high with less awareness to stay protected. These devices impart high ownership but lower responsibility and majority (44 percent) of parents said that they provided smartphones to their kids to stay in touch with them and 38 percent claimed peer pressure is one major factor in getting their kid a device.

About 500 children in major urban cities were interviewed by MacAfee for the survey. The survey revealed a huge gap of transparency and generation gap between them. About 42 percent kids spend 1-2 hours online in a day and 32 percent of parents believe that their kids spend 1-2 hours online a day. A 60 percent of kids have admitted the presence of their own email accounts and 49 percent believe that their kids have one. A 64 percent of children accepted that they are on some social networking site whereas only a 54 percent of parents are actually aware of that. The statistics clearly indicates a huge lack of transparency between the two.

There is even more scary revelation that has been made by the survey. The report said that 62 percent of kids have been asked for personal information online and 32 percent of parents are aware that their children are sharing information online. A 56 percent of children are believed to have shared this data and 26 percent of parents believed that their kids would have shared it.

Information can be mismanaged if shared recklessly. It is frightening that 12 percent of children admitted of sharing their parent's credit card details online. The report revealed that Bangalore has recorded highest number of fraud cases as 100 percent of children reported that they had been a victim of fraud. Delhi is the lowest in awareness levels with 76 percent claiming they have no idea about it and Mumbai is the highest in cyber bulling with 33 percent.

The only solution to address this issue is to monitor and keep a track of your child's online activities. There are varieties of vendors who provide solutions whereby you can keep a tab at your kid's level of sharing information online. MacAfee latest launch in this segment is MacAfee Family Protection software. It is easy to use, simple and fast. Through this software parents can decide what web content one's child can have access to. The product automatically decides the filtering levels as soon as one enters the age group hence it has age appropriate settings. It has a huge data base behind it which keeps on constantly updating itself. You can block web page access based on some specified keywords. Thus get the right tools placed in your computer and protect your child from any kind of security breaches.