Screen time for kids explodes during Coronavirus lockdown, making parents anxious for their safety online: OLX India Survey

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

The biggest concern a majority – 57 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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.

Akanksha Dhamija, Director, Customer Centricity, OLX India on the research survey findings, said, “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.”

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