The latest edition of the Norton Online Family Report identifies a new issue of “cyberbaiting,” a growing phenomenon where kids taunt their teachers, then capture the distressed reactions via cell phone videos, and post them online on social networks. In addition, the report reveals a surprisingly high number of kids taking liberties with their parents’ credit cards for shopping online. However, it’s not all bad news: the report shows that following clearly stated house rules for proper Internet behavior can make a significant impact in averting negative online experiences.
According to the report, 79 per cent of kids in India said that they have had a negative experience while online. Six in ten (60 per cent), however, have had a serious negative experience online, such as receiving inappropriate pictures from strangers, being bullied or becoming the victim of cybercrime. The report also shows that kids who are active on social networks open up more doors for content or situations that can be tricky for them to handle: in India, 84 per cent of kids on social networks find themselves in unpleasant situations online, compared to 58 per cent who stay away from social networking.
Parents are setting ground rules, however, for online use, which helps kids have a more positive experience. The Norton Online Family Report shows that 39 per cent of Indian parents have rules for how their kids may use the Internet. For those households where rules exist, while the “good kids” who follow the rules stay relatively safe with 75 per cent having had a negative experience online, the percentage increases to 91 per cent among rule-breakers.
Teachers at Risk of Cyberbaiting
One of the more surprising examples of using social networks for bad behavior is cyberbaiting, where students first irritate or bait a teacher until he or she cracks, filming the incident on their mobile device so they can post the footage online, embarrassing the teacher and the school. One in two teachers has personally experienced or knows another teacher who has experienced this phenomenon.
Perhaps because of cyberbaiting, 67 per cent of teachers say being friends with students on social networks exposes them to risks. Still, 69 per cent continue to “friend” their students. Only 67 per cent, however, say their school has a code of conduct for how teachers and students communicate with each other through social media. Eighty three percent of teachers call for more online safety education in schools, a position supported by same amount (83 per cent) of parents.
Raiding Mom’s Digital Purse
One fifth (20 per cent) of Indian kids say they sometimes dip into mom or dad’s credit card to shop online for music, magazine subscriptions and event tickets without their parents knowing. And almost three quarters of parents (73 per cent) reported that their child has sometimes used their online store account without their permission.
But saving money isn’t the only reason to set clear guidelines about online shopping and safe Internet behaviors. The reports says 92 per cent of the Indian parents whose children have been the victim of cybercrime have also been victims themselves - a steep increase from the global average of 69 per cent among online adults across the world. (Norton Cybercrime Report, 2011).