Screen Time For Kids Explodes During Coronavirus Lockdown, Making Parents Anxious For Their Safety Online: Reports

The survey was conducted by OLX India, with parents of kids in the age group of 5 - 15 years to understand the rise in screen time of their kids.

Parents are increasingly concerned over 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, confirms a survey by OLX India. 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 kids and their level of awareness and preparedness in helping them be safe online. 

84 per cent of respondents confirm being deeply concerned about the increase in screen time of their kids. The survey reveals a shocking 100 per cent increase in the screen time of kids since the lockdown started. 54 per cent of parents state that their kids are spending up to 5 additional hours on an average online in front of a screen. 

The biggest concern a majority - 57 per cent of parents have is that the kids may unknowingly access inappropriate information online and use studying as an excuse to access non-educational content. Despite the anxiety however, 57 per cent 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. 

Parents are aware of the dangers that lurk on the Internet reveals the survey, by the percentage of parents who have taken action, though not tangible steps like password-protected access, screen time restrictions, safe search filters, etc. 71 per cent have ‘spoken’ to their kids about the dangers of the Internet in an effort to educate them. 

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

“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 risks of them being online. Our survey also suggests that while parents recognise 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 cybersafety awareness camps especially for kids in schools and colleges positively impacting over 12,000 students.” says 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 per cent of respondents were parents who had kids in the age group of 5-10 years; nearly 28 per cent parents had kids in the age bracket of 10-15 years while 15 per cent 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, 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 come online they will drive India’s internet consumption growth story in the near future.

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