Indian teens show risky behaviour online: McAfee

As a "risky behaviour", more than half of Indian teens meet people in real life whom they found online, security solutions provider McAfee said today.

Indian teens show risky behaviour online: McAfee

New Delhi: As a "risky behaviour", more than half of Indian teens meet people in real life whom they found online, security solutions provider McAfee said today.

This "risky behaviour" is the highest in Indian teens and tweens compared to countries like Australia, Singapore, the US and Germany.

"Today, the teens and tweens are online for a longer duration of time on their smartphones and tablets. They are very comfortable operating in the online world, yet the risks have never been greater," Melanie Duca, APAC Consumer Marketing Director, McAfee (part of Intel Security) told reporters here.

They need to understand the consequences of their online behaviour and how they can maintain their social engagement, she added.

About 52 per cent said they chatted during online gaming, 49 per cent on TV show fan pages and 42 per cent live tweeting celebrities and others during a live show.

"What is also worrying is that despite majority (80 per cent) of Indian youth being aware that their online activity can affect their identity, out of 90 per cent who have done or posted something risky online, 70 per cent have posted their contact details like email, phone, home address," Duca said.

According to McAfee's Tweens, Teens & Technology Report 2014, 70 per cent of online youth in India spend more than 5 hours on the Internet in a normal week.

Though Internet access is still predominantly desktop based (41 per cent), 36 per cent said they use laptops and 27 per cent smartphones.

While Facebook is by far the most popular site used (93 per cent), followed by YouTube (87 per cent) and WhatsApp (79 per cent).

Two-thirds said they feel more accepted on social media than they do in real life, while 72 per cent said they feel important or popular when they receive a lot of "likes" on the photos posted of themselves on social media.

"Keeping up to the social pressure, 64 per cent even admitted to have tried reinventing themselves online by trying to appear older or creating a fake profile or posting photos that are not their own," Duca said.

About 46 per cent said they put themselves in danger to see more engagement/activity on their posts (eg for more likes, comments, shares or retweets).

"What is alarming is that 10-12 year old social account users report higher daily access to Snapchat, Pinterest, Tinder, Tumblr, and Vine than their teen counterparts, even though the minimum age to register to these social networking sites is 13 years," Duca said.

More than half the respondents felt they are not old

enough to worry about identity being stolen and 51 per cent said they don't care about having privacy online.

Only 46 per cent said their parents have had conversations with them about online safety. Others say their parents simply don't care (52 per cent).

"Education is key to empowering both parents and children with the tools to tackle these risks. We need to do our part to provide appropriate assistance and teach them to stop, think and connect online," Duca said.

About 52 per cent youth said they access social media accounts while at school with 57 per cent being 8-12 years old v/s 47 per cent 13-17 year old, the study found.

Also, 63 per cent respondents said they do not turn off their location or GPS services across apps, while only 46 per cent enable privacy settings on their social networking profiles to protect their content. This leaves their locations visible to strangers.

About 36 per cent said they have been cyber bullied themselves based on appearance (46 per cent), intelligence level (45 per cent) and religion/race (40 per cent).

Another 33 per cent said they have witnessed cyber bullying of others, where 46 per cent said the victims deleted their social media accounts and 42 per cent said the victims became less social, underscoring its significant emotional impact.