If the problem with pre-Internet era was scarcity, then the concern with today’s Internet era is abundance – an overflow of information and data which has no entry points. The website doesn’t care if you are a 86 year old farmer or 11 year old school kid; the information is freely available to all who care to enter the URL in the address bar.
However, when it comes to children, then the same freely available information and data can become an evil entity which can corrupt the young mind, and alter his or her thinking process forever.
The minds of a young kid (especially those who are between the age 5-11) is just like the raw, slippery mud use to create pottery. The quality and standard of information received can mold the structure and make it permanent.
And if we believe the findings of Nischint, a parental control & monitoring app for children, then the Internet surfing trends amongst kids in India are alarming to say the least.
Nischint has a database of 14000 family devices (7000 parent and 7000 child) which are used to monitor and control Internet browsing habits of children between 5 to 17 years; and they decided to churn out some data regarding the usage trends.
Some of the highlights mentioned in this study:
- Out of 33 lakh websites blocked by this app, majority are hardcore pornographic websites which are meant only for adults
- Some of the most popular apps which kids downloaded: Whatsapp, Youtube, Facebook, Snapchat, NDTV, Fifa 15, Candy crush, Learn to draw Lego Ninjago, GTA
- Average hours spent per kid on social media sites such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube: 3.4 hours
- Websites which are mostly opened by a kid: Facebook.com, Google.co.in, Flipkart.com, Cricinfo.com
- Average time spent by a child on the Internet, per hour: 40 seconds to 1 minute
- Number of videos shot by a kid, every day: 1.5
- Number of images taken by a kid, every day: 5
- Peak hours of apps usage: 5 PM to 8 PM
Besides the Internet surfing habits, the study also found that on an average, a child sent 18 SMS per day, whereas he receives 20 promotional SMSes during the same period.
A typical kid will call 45 people every 24 hours, with every call lasting approximate 0.32 seconds. Peak time for calls is 7 PM to 8PM.
The data has been derived from the usage pattern of 90 days, from February to April, 2015.
Top 4 cities represented in this study are: New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.
These are the data which are coming from a parental control app; now imagine the scenario where 90% of the children in India are surfing unregulated, unmonitored Internet: The situation becomes alarming.
Both parents and content providers should come together, and ensure that only age appropriate information is being accessed by the kids. Other websites and portals should emulate Youtube, which has created a child friendly app, which showcases only those content which are meant for kids.
Parents can do their bit by understanding and analyzing what their kids are surfing, and how habits are forming. Spending hours on WhatsApp and Facebook will not make them an astronaut or scientist; but can only create confusion within their minds. Not to forget cases of bullying and harassment, which have become so rampant on social media platforms.
Here, we had shared few suggestions for the new age parents, when it comes to monitoring their kids on the Internet.
A child doesn’t know the difference between good and bad; between a good website and evil website. It’s our responsibility to help them navigate this fascinating, yet complex world of Internet.[image: shutterstock.com]
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