A latest report on children's online behaviour and experience reveals worrisome results for internet-using Indian kids. According to the global study conducted by the software giant Microsoft, more than half - around 53 percent - of children in India have been bullied online.
"More than five in 10 children surveyed (8 to 17 years of age) in India say they have experienced what adults might consider online bullying, while a similar number think they have done something parents would consider online bullying," the report, titled 'Global Youth Online Behavior Survey', said.
Online bullying or cyberbullying, as defined in the survey report, is "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices".
The report said that while 45 percent of parents teach their children online manners, 38 percent of the schools attended by respondents have formal policies on cyber bullying. "Formal school policies and education programs are prevalent in India but this has not translated into lower online bullying rates," the report said.
The study was conducted in 25 countries to ascertain "how kids are treating one another online and whether parents are addressing online behaviors". It was conducted among more than 7,600 children falling in the age category of 8 to 17, between January 11 and February 19, 2012.
Globally, as the survey uncovers, children wanted to talk to their parents about the issue, but only 29 percent of kids received a positive response. Moreover, the report said, there was no common pattern in the steps taken by parents to address the problem with only 17 percent having communicated a clear set of rules for negative online behaviours.
“Protecting children from online bullying is a shared responsibility. Everyone plays a role: parents, educators, school counsellors, coaches, online safety advocates, industry, law enforcement, government and children themselves,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, director, Trustworthy Computing for Microsoft.
The report puts India third on the list, behind China (70 percent) and Singapore (58 percent).