With users of all age groups being exposed to internet cyber security is a major concern. The kind of content the children and teenagers are accessing online has cropped up a new age problem that demands immediate redressal. The survey encompasses different aspects related to propensity, pattern, vulnerability and awareness related to internet usage.
According to the data majority Indian youth comprising 85% of non – adult users have access to smartphones. Most of them are online five hours a day and 80% admitted to using social media. A growing number of youths watch videos on OTT platforms other than YouTube. However, there's a lack of awareness about privacy and safety control measures in online platforms. Nearly 30% of respondents admitted to have shared sensitive information online while half of them accepted to have watched online pornography and 40 % agreed to know those who have watched pornographic content on internet.
The links of survey conducted during June – July 2020 lockdown period were circulated across various social media platforms and 1154 valid responses were used. The all India survey also comprised North East India. Maximum responses came from Maharashtra followed by Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. As per the sample, female and male respondents were 48% and 51% respectively while 1% reported their gender to be other.
The survey emphasized on the history of internet use and duration on a daily basis. A majority of youth respondents use the internet on their smartphone devices. As per the data most youth users admitted to access the internet either for connecting with friends or using social media platforms. Respondents across all age groups use the internet for learning, professional, socializing and recreational purposes. While among the 18 – 25 age bracket Instagram is the widely used social media platform, for the 25 – 40 and 40 and Above age group Facebook is preferred more.
The study concluded that in spite of enabling personal, social and professional networking high internet usage is detrimental especially for the youth due to over usage. Spending more than 5 hours on social media with lack of awareness about safety and privacy settings leads to treacherous cyber threats by hackers. It is therefore crucial to encourage capacity building workshops in order to educate the users, especially youth about safety and privacy settings while accessing social media platforms. The report recommended educational institutions to organize capacity building workshops in order to train students regarding healthy and safe internet habits.
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