Internet is becoming ubiquitous these days especially with mobile internet literally providing multi-fold increase in the user base hooked online.In the absence of high-speed and reliable connectivity, mobile internet is working like a charm in India. However, an emerging trend in the internet usage in India is a new demographic segment all together – Kids.
Yes, kids in the age range of 4-12 are increasingly getting hooked online. Teenagers/Students already dominate when it comes to having a presence in the virtual world but the 4-12 age range sounds a little too young to digest.
In a survey conducted by global security firm McAfee, it shows that the kids in the 4-12 age in India are increasingly taking to the online world. The usage patterns are even more interesting insights.
(Note:The survey was conducted among affluent kids across 10 major cities in India. Sample set had 500 kids and 496 parents)
- 62% of the surveyed kids had an e-mail id; 58% of the kids have presence on social networks
- Kids who had e-mail id’s, 67% were 4-8 years old; 64% of those having account on social networking sites were 8-12 years old
Come to think of it, the kids of today are becoming internet savvy from a very young age. I still wonder what a 4-5 year old would do with an e-mail account but then having account on social networking sites is still ok.
Even as these insights demonstrate a fast emerging new segment for online marketers to target, the survey also reveals that the parents are increasing being wary of their kids getting hooked online. Their concerns are justified as,
58 percent of kids, half of them between 4-8 years, admitted to sharing their home address and 55 percent of them sharing their contact details on the internet
- Only a meagre 32% of the surveyed parents knew that their kids are sharing personal information in the online world
- Only 25% of the parents trust their children online
- As many as 42% of the surveyed parents fear that kids in 4-8 group could get exposed to adult material at a very early age
- In terms of city specific awareness, parents in Ludhiana and Bangalore had the least awareness of their kids activities whereas Pune registered high transparent level at 84%.
The lack of information parents have about their kids online usage pattern is worrying. I am all for internet as a medium for enhanced learning but in the 4-12 age group, unmonitored online activity could prove dangerous. One positive from the survey is that as many as 73% of parents helped their kids understand the do’s and dont’s of the online world.
With the way online ecosystem is evolving, it wont be long before all segments and all age groups are hooked on to the internet. The key issue will be to ensure that kids are well aware of the good-bad and the ugly side of online world.
What are your thoughts on kids in 4-12 age group taking to the online world? Despite all the goods the online world offers, is it too much of a risk to expose kids to the online world at such small age