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Are youngsters safe online?

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By Dateline India Syndicate

These days more and more youngsters are sharing of information on social media. An average youngster today has over 300 FaceBook friends and at least 100 followers on Twitter. Interestingly, those more friends on FaceBook visit the social networking sites more often during the day than those with few friends.

At least 60% of the FaceBook users keep their profiles private, and take steps to manage their networks, reputation and mask information they don’t want others to know.

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According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Centre:

  • 92% post their real name to the profile
  • 91% post a photo of themselves.
  • 71% post their school name.
  • 71% post the city or town where they live
  • 53% post their email address
  • 84% post their interests, such as movies, music, or books they like
  • 82% post their birth date.
  • 62% post their relationship status.
  • 24% post videos of themselves
  • 16% of teen social media users automatically include their location in posts.
  • 20% post their cell phone number

Boys are more likely to share their cell phone numbers than girls.

Only 26% say that they post false information like a fake name, age, or location to help protect their privacy.

Though Twitter draws a far smaller crowd than FaceBook, its use is rising. At least 25% youngsters online are using Twitter.

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While those with FaceBook profiles most often choose private settings, Twitter users, by contrast, are much more likely to have a public account.

  • 64% of teens with Twitter accounts say that their tweets are public
  • 98% of FaceBook-users are friends with people they know from school
  • 91% of teen FaceBook users are friends with members of their extended family
  • 89% are connected to friends who do not attend the same school
  • 76% are FaceBook friends with brothers and sisters
  • 70% are FaceBook friends with their parents
  • 33% are FaceBook friends with other people they have not met in person
  • 30% have teachers or coaches as friends in their network
  • 30% have celebrities, musicians or athletes in their network.

What is alarming is that many youngsters are FaceBook friends with a number of people they have never met in person.

Many of them believe they’re in contact with someone their age. NOT an adult stranger.

Many of the youngsters are connected with:

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  • Friends who go to different schools
  • People they have never met in person
  • Teachers or coaches – Girls are also more likely than boys to be FaceBook friends with coaches or teachers.
  • 52% of online teens say they have had an experience online that made them feel good about themselves
  • One in three online teens (33%) say they have had an experience online that made them feel closer to another person
  • One in six youngsters have been contacted online by someone they did not know in a way that made them feel scared or uncomfortable.

Unwanted contact from strangers is relatively uncommon, but 17% of online teens report some contact that made them feel scared or uncomfortable. Online girls are more than twice as likely as boys to report contact with someone they did not know that made them feel scared or uncomfortable.

Some of these internet-using teens have posted something online that caused problems for them or a family member, or got them in trouble at school.

A small percentage of teens have engaged in online activities that had negative repercussions for them or their family; 4% of online teens say they have shared sensitive information online that later caused a problem for themselves or other members of their family. Another 4% have posted information online that got them into trouble at school.

  • Large numbers of youth lied about their age in order to gain access to websites and online accounts
  • On in three online teens say they have received online advertising that was clearly inappropriate for their age.

Exposure to inappropriate advertising online is one of the many risks that parents, youth advocates, and policy makers are concerned about. Little has been known until now about how often teens encounter online ads that they feel are intended for more (or less) mature audiences. In the latest survey, 30% of online teens say they have received online advertising that is “clearly inappropriate” for their age.

The message is loud and clear:

The Internet can be both fun outing and dangerous place – where you need to watch your step. A place where you commonly get pornographic images, adult content choose, and pop-up ads during routine searches. Chat rooms can be a fun to talk to their friends and make new ones but then anyone can access chat rooms, even secure ones. There is always the danger of adults intent of harming children.

Girls invariably are not looking for inappropriate material and conversations online. They use the internet to read, research school assignments, play games, send and receive email, chat, and message friends but still they end up being the victim.

Recent studies show that

  • 71% youngsters receive messages from strangers online, and 30% of them contemplate meeting complete strangers face- to- face.
  • 51% of youngsters are asked personal information online
  • 64% of youngsters did things online they don’t want their parents to know about
  • 40% youngsters admit sexting
  • 50% youngsters have been bullied or harassed online or by text message
  • A large number of youngsters were physically attacked
  • Over HALF of bullying and cyber bully attacks are UNREPORTED to parents, educators, or authorities.
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Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau is a team of seasoned journalists led by Neeraj Mahajan. Trusted by millions readers worldwide.


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