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Indian children have the highest online risk exposure, says study

Indian children have the highest online risk exposure, says study
Photo Credit: Pixabay
13 May, 2022
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Indian children have the highest online risk exposure and are among the youngest to reach mobile maturity, according to a new study by cybersecurity firm, McAfee.   

The study titled: ‘Life Behind the Screens of Parents, Tweens, and Teens’, noted that in India, smartphone use in 10- to 14-year-olds is 83%, which is 7% more than the international average of 76%. This leads to a huge exposure to risks online as there is a huge security gap between parents and children. Additionally, while anxiety is relatively low among parents, 22% of Indian children have experienced cyberbullying at some time which is 5% higher than the global average of 17%.  

“90% of parents globally recognise their role as online custodians, just as they recognise their responsibility to protect their children in the wider world. Children in India are among the youngest to reach maturity on mobile devices and have among the highest rates of exposure across the globe,” said Sachin Puri, Vice President of Marketing at McAfee.  

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Globally, 73% of children look to parents more than any other resource for help with online safety. However, parents struggle to deliver what leads to security holes. While 56% of parents globally said that they protect their smartphones with a password or passcode, only 42% said that they do the same with their children’s smartphones — an additional 14% drop.  

Indian families have reported their experience with other online threats, indicating that there are privacy and security issues online — and at a much higher rate than other families around the world. Parents reported attempted account theft online at 33% which is 5% higher than parents worldwide at 28%. There was an 11% higher score for children who reported thefts at 26% in India compared to the global average of 15%. 

Indian parents and children reported leaking financial information at a higher rate than families around the world, with fathers 9% above the average of 21% and children 13% above the 10% average.  

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The level of concern about cyberbullying and abuse on social media among Indian parents was 47%, 10% lower than the global average of 57%. Moreover, in India, the number of children who reported private conversations without knowing a person’s true identity was 11% higher than the number of other children worldwide. 

“We want parents to know that there are tools and resources available to promote safe and healthy online activity for their families while being aware of habits that can increase the risk of situations such as cyberbullying or cyber-attacks,” said Gajan Singh, Executive Vice President, Head of Product and Revenue, McAfee.   

In order to fully protect families online, this study urges parents to protect their children from various vulnerabilities with powerful tools that give the ability to monitor device activity, limit screen time, block apps, and filter websites to help add a layer of protection. 

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