Parents admit to helping them register on these websites, says study

A recent survey has revealed that 73 per cent children living in the metros and other major cities in the country use Facebook and other social networking sites despite prohibition.

The Delhi High Court had last year asked Facebook to upload a disclaimer on its homepage stating that children below 13 cannot open an account on it.

The findings of the study, conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), also revealed that children are helped by parents, who lie to get them registered as users on these websites.

Releasing the findings, ASSOCHAM secretary general D. S. Rawat said free access to social media could expose the children to content, people or situations that could have negative outcomes, like cyber bullying and online sexual abuse.

Survey trends indicate that older a child grows the more likely he or she is to use these social networking sites. Nearly a quarter of the surveyed children were 13-year-olds, followed by 22 per cent of 11-year-olds.

“The percentage of children in the age bracket of eight and nine years using Facebook was relatively small — somewhere between five and 10,” said the statement.

As many as 4,200 parents from cities such like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahemdabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow and Dehradun took part in the survey.

“A vast majority — 75 per cent — of parents whose children are in the age group of 8-13 years were aware of their child signing up for the website. Many parents knowingly allowed their children to lie about their age on the social networking site. Nearly 82 per cent of these parents helped create the child’s account,” said a statement from ASSOCHAM.

“A new aspect that emerged from the survey was that children of working parents were found to be more addicted to technology due to absence of parental supervision as compared to those with a single working parent. This trend is seen abundantly in metros cities, where both parents are usually employed,” the ASSOCHAM statement added.