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Every Second Child in Urban India feels the lack of Safety Online: Survey

The survey was conducted over Facebook with 320 respondents who were primarily from Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand

Children studying. (representational image), Wikimedia

New Delhi, Feb 6, 2017:  According to a recent study, Every second child in urban Indiafeels the lack of safety on internet while around 16 percent are harassed by inappropriate messages online.

According to a survey conducted by mobile operator Telenor India’s ‘WebWise’, a flagship program on the cyber safety and security of children — around 99 percent schoolchildren in urban India use internet, of whom 25 percent have been the victim of hacking of their accounts.

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The survey was conducted over Facebook with 320 respondents who were primarily from Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand.

The targets of this survey were Facebook users from the age group of 18-64 with stated interests in parenting, family issues, child welfare and online security.

Over 22 per cent of respondents’ children were the victims of rude and hostile comments and profanity online while 29 per cent of respondents said that being cyberbullied affected the child in a dark and negative way and was ‘depressing’ for a time.

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Forty-six per cent of the respondents stated that they speak to their children ‘all the time’ about internet and online activities, followed by 39 per cent who have discussed this ‘some times’. Only 12 percent said they had never had any conversation about this topic.

However, the survey found that a large segment of Asian adults feels empowered and aware enough to address an issue like online safety with youth comfortably.

Twenty-four per cent of respondents came up with the fact that the negative situations faced online made the children more alert and able to defend themselves in the virtual world and the same number of respondents mentioned that the children did not seem to be affected, seven per cent even saying that the online bullying and harassment ‘inspired the child to then help other victims’.

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“Across Asia, we see examples of awareness-building efforts, on the part of our company and many others, which reach scores of children, parents and school teachers and we hope this is leading to more resilience against online mistreatment,” Zainab Hussain Siddiqui, Director, Social Responsibility, Telenor Group mentioned in his statement.

Researchers have concluded that education must be imparted among youths to make them aware of how to be secure online and avoid being bullied or mistreated. (IANS)


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UNICEF Calls For Global Action to Prevent Cyberbullying

As part of this, it is implementing programmes to leverage the internet's promise of connectivity and education on behalf of the world's children

An employee works near screens in the virus lab at the headquarters of Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Labs in Moscow, July 29, 2013. VOA

UNICEF on Tuesday called for global concerted action to prevent online violence, cyberbullying and digital harassment for over 70 per cent of children and young people online.

The call, made on Safer Internet Day, comes following a recent United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) poll of young people, which received more than a million responses over five weeks from more than 160 countries, and suggestions from a series of student-led #ENDviolence Youth Talks held around the world.

“We’ve heard from children and young people from around the globe and what they are saying is clear: The Internet has become a kindness desert,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

That’s why, she said, UNICEF is inviting everyone, young and old, to be kind online, and calling for greater action to make the Internet a safer place for everyone.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), while 94 per cent of young people, aged 15-24 in developed countries are online, more than 65 per cent of young people in developing countries are online. This is well ahead of the pace of Internet usage among the general population. Worldwide, half of the total population, regardless of age, is online.

US Intelligence, Privacy
A specialist works at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., Sept. 9, 2014. (VOA)

“This online proliferation comes with increased risk,” Fore said. According to data from UNESCO on the prevalence of cyberbullying in high-income countries, the proportion of children and adolescents who are affected by cyberbullying ranges from 5 per cent to 21 per cent, with girls appearing to be more likely to experience cyberbullying than boys.

Cyberbullying can cause profound harm as it can quickly reach a wide audience, and can remain accessible online indefinitely, virtually following its victims online for life. Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to use alcohol and drugs and skip school than other students. In extreme situations, cyberbullying has led to suicide.

In honour of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF also called for renewed urgency and cooperation to put children’s rights at the forefront of digital efforts.

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As part of this, it is implementing programmes to leverage the internet’s promise of connectivity and education on behalf of the world’s children.

“Thirty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the creation of the World Wide Web, it is time for governments, families, academia and the private sector to put children and young people at the centre of digital policies,” said Fore. (IANS)