New Delhi (ISJ): Despite strict norms that prohibit children under 13 from joining social networking sites, nearly 73% children from Indian cities between the age group of 8 and 13 are using Facebook and other social networking sites. A survey by business chamber, ASSOCHAM warned, this could lead to negative outcomes such as cyber bullying and online sexual abuse.
ASSOCHAM finding reveals, majority of underage kids first take the help of their parents to create an account or profiles and fudge their actual age. The survey was conducted under ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation with a sample size of 4,200 parents of children in the age group of 8-13 years in major metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow, etc. Three-fourth of parents are aware of their child?s access to Facebook. Many parents admitted, they allowed their children to lie about their age while opening the account, whereas 82% parents helped create the child?s account, according to the survey.
?Minors lack the experience or judgement to use a social network and this raises the scary predators tracking down kids, who reveal their age in an online chat, cyber bullying and online sexual abuse,? said Dr. B.K. Rao, Chairman of ASSOCHAM Health Committee.
?Easy availability of technology with lack of parental supervision is a significant reason for this ever-increasing menace of technology addiction,? said D.S. Rawat, Secretary General of ASSOCHAM while releasing the report.
Facebook, however, does not entertain any request to open account from children below the age of 13, following a directive from the Delhi High Court last year. The court also had asked the social networking site to upload a disclaimer that children below the age of 13 years cannot open an account with them. ISJ tried to open an account in the name of a child below the age of 13, but was rejected by Facebook.
Facebook on its part says, ?We take safety issues very seriously,? says a notice on the website. ?To protect minors, we may put special safeguards in place (such as placing restrictions on the ability of adults to share and connect with them).?
Besides Facebook, other popular sites like flikr.com, google plus, pinterest, snapchat are used by 85% of ten to 16-year-olds, reveals the survey.
An aspect which emerged out of this survey is that children of working parents are found to be more technology addictive in the absence of parental supervision, as compared to those whose single parent is engaged in employment. This trend is abundant in metros where normally both the parents are employed, reveals the survey.