McAfee, part of Intel Security, has released findings of its annual study, the Tweens, Teens and Technology 2014 report, which examines the online behaviour and social networking habits of Indian tweens and teens, and aims to educate on the impact that risky behaviour has on their privacy, reputation and social media experiences.
According to the research, half (50%) of the youth in India have had some experience with cyber-bullying (been cyberbullied online or witnessed others being cyberbullied), out of which one-third (36%) have been cyberbullied themselves. This behaviour was perceived to result in anger and embarrassment, showcasing how online behaviour translates into offline impact.
“Teens and tweens are very comfortable operating in the online world, yet the risks have never been greater. Young people are often the pioneers for new technologies so they need to understand the consequences of their online behaviour and how they can maintain their social engagement,” said Melanie Duca, APAC Consumer Marketing Director, McAfee, part of Intel Security
The study highlights how risky online activity can possibly make them even more susceptible to cyberbullying, substantiated through some of the following statistics.
Need to be constantly connected
An eye-opening trend is that half (52%) of India’s youth even access their social media accounts while at school, with tweens (57%) being more connected during school hours than teens (47%). Even though the minimum age to register to on social networking sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tinder, Tumblr, and Vine is 13, 10-12 year olds report higher daily access to than their teen counterparts.
Oversharing of risky information
Despite a majority (80%) of Indian youth being aware that their online activity can affect their identity, 92% have done or posted something risky online. An added fact is that of these, 70% have posted their contact details like email, phone and home address.
Youth are increasingly trusting unknown people in the virtual world, in spite of being aware that it is risky. 53% have met someone in person that they first met online. 63% of youth do not turn off their location or GPS services across apps, leaving their locations visible to strangers.
Finding Social Acceptance
Another critical concern stemming from peer pressure is youth feeling compelled to portray an untrue image of themselves online. 64% even admit to trying to reinvent their online personas making themselves appear older, creating fake profiles or posting photos that are not their own. Moreover, 46% say they would put themselves in danger to see more engagement/ activity on their posts (e.g., more likes, comments, shares or retweets).
Lack of parental involvement
Only 46% say their parents have had a conversation with them about online safety. Others say their parents simply don’t care (52%).
Top 5 Tips for Parents to Help Educate Their Kids:
1. Connect with your kids. Casually talk to them about the risks of all online connections and make sure the communication lines are open.
2. Gain access. Have passwords for your children’s social media accounts and passcodes to their children’s devices to have full access at any given moment.
3. Learn their technology. Stay one step ahead and take the time to research the various devices your kids use. You want to know more about their devices than they do.
4. Get social. Stay knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks. You don’t have to create an account but it is important to understand how they work and if your kids are on them.
5. Reputation management. Make sure your kids are aware anything they post online does not have an expiration date.