One in every three adolescent internet users queried in a survey have gone through a negative experience, including cyber-bullying, a study has claimed. According to a study conducted by child rights body Child Rights and You (CRY), around 10 per cent adolescent internet users were subjected to cyber-bullying and one out of the two among them reported such incidents.
The study named ‘Online Safety and Internet Addiction: A study conducted amongst Adolescents in Delhi-NCR’ was conducted among 630 adolescents across eight schools in the national capital within the age group of 13 to 18 years.
The study revealed that 60 per cent of the boys and 40 per cent of the girls among the respondents owned their own device while almost half of the respondents reportedly used two or more devices to access the Internet.
“Three in every five adolescents (63 per cent) said they accepted friendship/connect request only from people they knew, while the rest said they accepted requests from friends of friends and strangers,” the study said.
The risks and harms to the adolescents on the internet are cybercrimes like – cyber bullying, hacking and misuse of online profile, morphing of images or videos, and Internet addiction, it said.
“One is every three adolescent users reported going through negative experience on the internet, while around 10 per cent of them disclosed being subjected to cyber-bullying,” the study said.
Around 10 per cent of adolescents also reported being victims of hacking of profile or misuse of account, but this decreased sharply with age. “One in four adolescents also reported seeing a morphed image or video, and only 50 per cent of them reported the incident. In general, reporting of any kind of abuse increased steeply with age,” the study found.
Ramesh Negi, chairperson of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said the biggest issue is to educate people on safety of children in the internet space. “I find it as serious as an addiction. There is a need to educate people on right use of internet. Then we will come to vulnerable areas of children which is more of an area of study for IT professionals than a policymaker. How did this monster (internet addiction) grow, that has to be understood,” Negi said at the launch of the report.
Some of the recommendations given by the study included awareness and capacity building of children on keeping themselves safe online, convergence of internet safety rules and curriculum, proactive engagement of parents and caregivers and review of existing cyber laws among others.
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