A recent global connected family study by McAfee Corporation, where it surveyed 15 thousand parents and 12 thousand of their children across 10 geographies, revealed that early mobile maturity among children leads to increased rate and exposure to cyber bullying and cyber attacks. Where does early age mobile maturity & lack of cyber awareness lead to?
This phenomena is particularly worrisome among the children with the age group of 10-14 years. Compared to their peer group from other countries, Indian children in this age group seem to have 83% smartphone use, which is 7% higher than the global average of 76%.
Though early mobile maturity among children increases their adoption and familiarity with the technology, it also increases the exposure to cyber risks such as cyber bullying. Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones. It is repeated behavior, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted.
Apart from cyberbullying, cyber attacks related to security, privacy or financial are a major danger to both parents and children. It is reported that 30% Indian parents have experienced financial threats online and it is 23% among Indian children, which is 9% and 13% more than world average.
Parents’ lower threat perception regarding the cyber risks is sighted to be the important factor behind this early age mobile maturity scenario. Though 90% of parents worldwide consider themselves as online protectors of their children’s excessive mobile use, in reality only 56% of them remain so.
Thereby, it can be understood that in the age of 5G technology the cyber risks can be on par with the advantages gained. Hence, the immediate responsibility lies with both the respective parents and governments by better adopting the online protection technologies and considering strengthening the cyber security measures, particularly in regulating the easy access and availability of all internet platforms to the children in the age group of 10-14 years.