Free ac­cess to mo­biles makes teens vul­ner­a­ble to cy­ber­crimes SCHOOLS TAK­ING THE RIGHT STEPS

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Puja Ped­nekar puja.ped­nekar@hin­dus­tan­

Unrestricted ac­cess to mo­bile phones among teenagers puts them at risk of be­ing vic­tims as well as per­pe­tra­tors of cybercrime, re­vealed a re­cent per­cep­tion sur­vey. While 62% of the re­spon­dents be­lieved that teenagers are more likely to be vic­tims of cybercrime, 54% feared they might in­dulge in hack­ing, leak­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate pho­tos or videos of their friends when they ac­cess in­ter­net.

The sur­vey recorded views of 1,006 peo­ple above 16 years from all walks of life across 14 cities. Nearly 30% of the sam­ple size con­sisted of par­ents of teenagers be­tween 13 to 16 years.

An av­er­age In­dian checks his phone nearly 41 times a day and down­loads at least 20 apps on his smart­phones or tablets, in­di­cat­ing high-level of de­pen­dency on the gad­get, said the sur­vey. This de­pen­dency is higher among teens.

Twice as many re­spon­dents from Mum­bai (40%) com­pared to Delhi (19%) find teenagers “more likely” to be cy­ber stalked and get their email ac­counts hacked (39%). But 38% of the re­spon­dents from Mum­bai said teens per­pe­trate hack­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion such as emails; 24.5% prac­tice cy­ber­bul­ly­ing via posts on so­cial me­dia or texts. Around 27% hold the view that teenagers are re­spon­si­ble for post­ing ‘re­venge porn’, which refers to in­ap­pro­pri­ate videos of for­mer part­ners or class­mates with a ma­li­cious in­tent. “There is no doubt that teenagers are one of the big­gest users of mo­bile de­vices in In­dia. As ‘dig­i­tal na­tives’ they face var­i­ous mo­bile se­cu­rity chal­lenges – as vic­tim and as per­pe­tra­tors,” said Ritesh Cho­pra, coun­try man­ager, Sy­man­tec Nor­ton, which com­mis­sioned the sur­vey.

Faced with such chal­lenges, par­ents need to ex­plore ways of mon­i­tor­ing on­line ac­tiv­i­ties and re­strict­ing their ac­cess to the in­ter­net. “With mo­bile de­vices, chil­dren are able to ac­cess in­ter­net any­where, par­ents need to talk to them about the pit­falls of the in­ter­net and cy­ber se­cu­rity,” said Cho­pra.

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