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OLX India Survey: Rise in screen time for kids during lockdown makes parents anxious for their safety online

Parents fear kids may stumble upon inappropriate information. 57% parents have not taken any online safety measures. 71% parents have spoken to their kids about staying safe online. The survey says 61% of parents monitored the content kids are viewing online

Parents are increasingly concerned about the amount of time their kids are spending online and in front of screens during the coronavirus lockdown, connecting with their teachers at school and for entertainment, says a survey by OLX India.

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The survey was conducted with parents of kids in the age group of 5-15 years to understand the rise in screen time of their children and their level of awareness and preparedness in helping them to be safe online.

84% of respondents confirm being deeply concerned about the increase in screen time of their kids. The survey reveals a shocking 100% increase in the screen time of kids since the lockdown started. 54% of parents state that their kids are spending up to five additional hours on an average online in front of a screen.

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The biggest concern a majority — 57% of parents have is that the kids may unknowingly accessed inappropriate information online and use studying as an excuse to access non-educational content. Despite the anxiety, however, 57% have not taken any tangible online safety measures to protect their kids from being vulnerable online. Parents of teens seem more casual in their approach to putting in any safety guardrails. 75% of parents with teenagers admit to not having any online safeguards while a lesser number, 50% of parents with kids in the age group of 5-10 years, have not done so.

71% have ‘spoken’ to their kids about the dangers of the Internet in an effort to educate them. 61% of parents also say that they actively monitor the content their kids are viewing, especially during the lockdown.

In a similar survey done last year by OLX India with parents, only 40% had said that they actively monitor the content their kids accessed online. This increase in supervision is primarily owing to parents being home with their kids.

With the growing concern around the increase in screen time of their kids and, therefore, the high chances of them being more vulnerable to online risks, 63% parents say educating kids about online safety best practices should be a collective responsibility of the government, schools, internet companies and parents themselves. Interestingly, 30% of parents did state that this responsibility should be theirs first.

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“In these unprecedented times where movement is restricted, our dependency on the internet has increased manifold for work, school, entertainment and being in touch with friends and family. In this age of smartphones and tablets and with kids getting their own computers for doing their homework, socialising and playing games, it has no doubt exaggerated the risk of them being online. Our survey also suggests that while parents recognise the online risks their kids can be exposed to unsupervised, they lack the initiative to control their online behaviour. It is no doubt a huge responsibility to continually educate this vulnerable demographic and different stakeholders must come together to make a difference. At OLX, our efforts over the last couple of years have been focused on educating our users to be safe and responsible online and have hosted cyber-safety awareness camps, especially for kids in schools and colleges, positively impacting over 12,000 students,” said Akanksha Dhamija, Director, Customer Centricity, OLX India on the research survey findings.

Methodology and purpose

The second edition of the survey was conducted in May-June with parents of school-going kids in the age groups of 5-15+. 57% of respondents were parents who had kids in the age group of 5-10 years; nearly 28% parents had kids in the age bracket of 10-15 years while 15% were parents to mature teens in the age bracket of 15+ years.

OLX India runs many initiatives to educate its users to be safe and responsible online. OLX has a dedicated OLX Trust & Safety helpline number - 9999140999 (10:00 am to 07:00 pm.) to assist users to seek clarity and avoid fraudulent activities. OLX also works closely with law enforcement authorities and educational institutes to create awareness on the issue of cybersafety. This survey with parents is OLX India’s second. It seeks to ascertain the attitude of parents towards cyber safety, their preparedness to protect their kids from online risks and heighten awareness and responsibility towards this crucial issue owing to the fact that as these young users will drive India’s internet consumption growth story in the near future.

OLX is a consumer-to-consumer marketplace for pre-owned cars and motorbikes, mobile phones, household items, jobs and real estate.

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