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Despite strict laws, more than 70% Facebook users are under the age of 13
Despite government’s strict norms that prohibit children under 13 from joining the social-networking site, nearly 73% of children in tier-I & tier-II cities between the age group of 8 to 13 are using Facebook and other social networking sites, which can lead to negative outcomes such as cyber bullying and online sexual abuse, reveals a latest survey by the industry body Assocham.
According to the survey on “Indian tweens are on Facebook despite being under age” reveals that the majority of underage kids on Facebook first got assistance from their parents in creating their accounts or profiles. However, many of the parents after helping them repent as they become addict to it.

The survey was conducted under Assocham Social Development Foundation (ASDF) of 4,200 parents of the age group 8-13 years old in major metropolitan cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahemdabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow and Dehradun etc.

The vast majority (75%) of the parents of 8-13 year-olds on Facebook are aware of their child for signing up for the site. Many parents initially knowingly allow their children to lie about their age on social networking site. Nearly 82% of those parents helped create the child's account, according to the paper.

Although majority of the parents surveyed believe that there should be a minimum age for Facebook, 78% believe that there are situations like school related activities, communicating with others make it “OK” for their child to sign up for an online service even if he or she does not meet the site's minimum age requirement.

While releasing the Assocham survey its Secretary General D.S. Rawat said in a statement, “Children are gaining access to social media sites at a younger age, which could expose them to content, people or situations that are out of their depth”.

As per the findings, nearly 25% of 13-year-olds, 22% of 11-year-olds and 15% of 10-year-old are on Facebook, while 5-10% of 8 & 9 year-olds are also active on the site, reveals the findings.

Dr. B K Rao, Chairman of Assocham Health Committee said, “Minors lack the experience or judgment 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”.

Rawat said, “Easy availability of technology with lack of parental supervision is a significant reason for this ever-increasing menace of technology addiction”, highlights the survey.

The study further reveals that children are most likely to post an image or video of themselves online. Facebook is the most preferred social networking website for children between the ages of 8 and 13-years. Other popular sites include flick.com, google plus, pinterest, snapchat are used by 85% of ten to 16-year-olds, highlights 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.

“Having a genuine and transparent two-way communication with children is absolutely fundamental to establishing a safe and positive cyber experience,” reveals the paper.





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