’50 percent Indian children trust strangers on web’

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) Over 50 percent Indian children admit to meeting or wanting to meet a stranger they first met online, a new study by US-based Intel Security Group showed.

The study, named Teens, Tweens and Technology Survey, examines online behaviours and social networking habits of tweens and teens aged eight to 16 years.

The study also surveyed the concerns of parents, revealing that when it comes to online activity, 48 percent parents believe that the worst thing to happen to their children is interacting with strangers online.

“This concern is warranted given that 44 percent children polled would meet or have met someone in person that they first met online,” the study said.

“As with every edition of our Teens, Tweens and Technology survey, this year too, we see some concerning issues being raised. In analysing the responses of both parents and children, what is evident is that there are a lot more open conversations and disclosures between them,” Melanie Duca, Asia Pacific consumer marketing director, Intel Security, said.

“While there are open conversations, work is required on ensuring that these go beyond casual chats. It is imperative to focus on ensuring children understand the consequences of their actions as well as agree on good internet etiquette,” she added.

According to the study, the most discussed topics between parents and children are cyber criminals and identity theft (71 percent), privacy settings (62 percent), cyberbullying (57 percent), online reputation (53 percent) or popularity among friends (52 percent).

Additionally, a surprisingly low number (17 percent) of parents are interested in finding out if their children are interacting with strangers online.

“This indicates that while parents believe that interacting with strangers online may be risky, this knowledge has not translated into remedial action,” the study said.

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