An average child spends 9 hours online each week: study

No less than 77 per cent of Indian children have been bullied, harassed or stalked by anonymous users — if not exposed to porn — online, reveals a Norton study.

The Norton Online Family Report 2010 was released internationally on Wednesday. What is significant that only 50 per cent of parents even believe that their children could be exposed to such “negative experiences” while surfing. An average Indian child spends an average of nine hours online each week.

International study

This is part of an international survey conducted in 14 countries, covering 2,805 children (aged eight to 17) and 7,066 adults.

In each of these countries, 500 adults, including parents of children aged between eight and 17, and 500 children in the same age group, were surveyed.

The negative experiences include being fooled by online scams, having strangers befriend them and trying to meet them offline, having someone try to get them to do something online that they thought was wrong, seeing violent/nude images, receiving inappropriate messages from friends or being bullied.

While 55 per cent of the children confessed that they had ‘added' anonymous users to their friends' lists on social networking sites, less than 20 per cent of the parents were even aware of this situation. On a positive note, Indian children still see their parents as the first point of reference.

Although the majority of Indian parents claim they have house rules in place surrounding their child's use of the Internet, only 34 per cent have actually set parental controls on their family computer.

Common sense rules

“Indian kids are not following some common sense rules. Some 66 per cent don't watch out for too-good-to-be-true offers, 56 per cent don't always distrust online offers at first glance and 55 per cent are not even aware of the perils involved,” said Effendy Ibrahim, Internet Safety Advocate and Consumer Business Lead, Asia, Symantec.

The survey also reveals that less than 49 per cent of parents are aware that their children are downloading music and video content unsupervised (68 per cent of children said they do so all the time).

Indian parents also seem to be unaware of the fact that children access internet on their mobile phones (around 16 per cent of children surveyed were mobile internet users).

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