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According to a study conducted by McAfee, Indian kids are vulnerable to cyber crimes as many of them tend to share personal information on various networks

CHENNAI: The online behaviour of children in India shows they are susceptible to cyber bullying, finds a dipstick survey by security technology firm McAfee.

The study, conducted among 500 children in the 9 to 17 age group across 10 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, found that 62% of children shared personal information online and 39% of parents were unaware of what their children do online.

The results of 'How safe are Indian kids online?' survey also show that 58% of the children polled shared their home address on the internet while 12% have been victims of some kind of cyber threat. Mumbai had the highest cyber bullying levels, with one-third of the children reporting that they were subject to either cyber hacking, fraud or identity theft. The city also recorded the highest percentage of children watching adult content (40%).

"The numbers are much higher. It is a misconception that only affluent children face online threats," said child rights activist Vidya Reddy. She came across a child in the 8-10 age group, who used to beg in Anna Nagar, play games at a cyber cafe for Rs 20.

While 79% of the parents polled in Chennai said their children had an e-mail account, second highest after Delhi, 38% of the parents indicated that they were not aware of their children's online activities.

This is the second highest after Ludhiana. As much as 77% parents were not aware of security software that could monitor children's online activities. While almost 75% of the children polled in Chennai owned a mobile phone only 6% were aware of cyber stalking and bullying.

"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," said Anindita Mishra - McAfee Cybermum India.

Experts said that in addition to installing up-to-date security software and parental control products, parents should also provide a safe and non-judgmental space in the real world where children can talk to them without constraint and not be penalized for it.


Wednesday , 30   November , 2011