Recently a survey called as “The biggest Annual survey on Digital Lifestyles of Urban Indian Teens” was conducted by one of the leading I T Company in India i.e. TCS.
The survey can be studied and inferences can be drawn by various angles and Cyber Awareness Organisation wishes to express its own supposition about the survey.
Let’s first see what salient features of the survey are.
1) The survey was conducted in Metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata and also emerging metros like Nagpur, Pune, Ahmadabad and Indore etc. In all14 cities with 1739 schools and 12365 high school students between age group of 12 to 18 years were the participants of this survey.
2) 72 % students own Smartphone and 85% use social media which they think as essential for keeping in touch with friends and knowing current affairs. Whatsapp, a free messenger platform, is used by almost 58% students without understanding inherent dangers of freeware.
3) 67% have shopped online and survey is silent about whether they used credit/debit card or Cash on delivery option. About 76% students spent 60 minutes per day on SNS.30% post daily on SNS while another 33% posts thrice a week 52% students opinioned that SNS helps in increasing friends whereas 23% feel that SNS helps them in studies. More than half respondents have stated that their parents monitor their online activity.
4) In Nagpur 21% students follow their teachers on Twitter whereas in India 14% students follow their teachers. Surprisingly Pune, which is considered as bastion of Education, only 9% students follow their Teachers on Twitter.
CAO see’s the increasing pattern of using Smartphone and Social media as a cause of concern for these teens. It has been proved by various studies that increased reliance on electronic gadgets is disturbing feature in retention capacity of the students. So it can be inferred that young Digital Generation will be having very short memories and will rely more on electronic gadgets.
In other words, where most of the life of Digital Generation will be more electronically driven in coming years, all the required passwords/mail passwords/ banking passwords will also be remembered by the gadgets and if gadget is lost or stolen entire privacy of this generation can be exposed to various dangers.
When free apps are used more often for communication, the security is certainly liable to be compromised. It has been proven time and again that all these freeware applications are primarily crated for data collection and currently there are no legal regulations for governing such applications.
The non-regulatory mechanism either on ground of fundamental right of free speech and expression or non-understanding of potential dangers of data collection is really a cause of serious concern and CAO wishes to highlight this issue again on backdrop of this survey.
There has to be a nation-wide debate amongst Law Enforcement Agencies, Politicians, Academicians, Legal Professionals and Telecom Service Providers on this issue, which is concerned with safety and security of the Nation as well as future of this Young India. Can we imagine such India, which will be Youngest Democracy in coming years, wherein its citizen’s entire personal data would be in hands of some company which is located out of India and which could be able to dance the citizens of free India on its own tunes, owing to sensitive personal information held by it?
Another disturbing trend is shopping online which is exhibited by 67% students. Normal principles of purchasing decision making authority lying IN HANDS OF Money Earner seems to be changing from money earner to technology user, because these students we don’t expect to earn on their own and thereby spending the hard earned money by their parents. This pattern is really disturbing because these students have not earned on their own still they have option of decision making on how it should be spent online and here the entire decision making expertise of their parents is making way to these inexperienced and immature generation which is best opportunity for trickster and fraudsters to promote various products through various fake online shopping portals. Unfortunately, presently, there are hardly any rules and regulations governing these online shopping portals. Nor people know about any remedial mechanism, set up by government, to report such frauds.
In such sorry situation, if online purchasing trend is increasing then again it’s a cause of concern.
Encouraging results of survey are 50% parents monitoring their wards online activity as well as @ 25% students sharing their passwords with parents. It indicates that half the parents are aware about online threats and take interest in monitoring wards online behavior also.
In our views survey should have asked questions about Cyber Bullying and Awareness level of Cyber Security issues.
Cyber Awareness Organisation is NGO which helps to victims of cyber crimes to come forward and avail civil/criminal remedy provided under IT Act. Many times due to ignorance of available remedies cyber crime victims are left with no option than to curse themselves.
Advocate Mahendra Limaye
Cyber Legal Consultant