According to a study conducted by McAfee, part of Intel Security, 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. The McAfee study aims to educate on the impact that risky behaviour has on their privacy, reputation and social media experiences.
This behaviour was perceived to result in anger and embarrassment, showcasing how online behaviour translates into offline impact. The study highlights how risky online activity can possibly make them even more susceptible to cyberbullying, substantiated through some of the following statistics.
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.
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).
The most surprising finding was that most parents in India simply don’t care about even having a conversation with their children on online safety.