Published: 02nd August 2021
Survey finds that kids making online purchases without permission has increased during pandemic
The study asked parents of kids in the age bracket of 5 to 18 years to share their perspectives on the concept of cyber responsibility
OLX India conducted a study to understand digital behaviour among kids during the pandemic, and its impact on their stress levels due to prolonged internet usage.
In the backdrop of National Parents Day celebrated on 25th July, the study asked parents of kids in the age bracket of 5 to 18 years to share their perspectives on the concept of cyber responsibility. The third annual edition of this survey was conducted in May-June 2021. Digitally savvy kids will grow to be more aware of safe and secure online behaviour, and OLX believes that the accelerated online usage ushered in by the pandemic should go hand-in-hand with safe and secure online experiences. The company runs a survey every year on parenting day, to gauge children's internet usage trends and parental response, in order to identify changing behaviours, and to highlight the need to use the Internet in a safe and responsible manner.
The 2020-21 OLX National Parenting Day survey revealed that prolonged screen time and unhindered access to the internet due to online schooling, with little to no alternatives to engage kids during the pandemic, has exacerbated mental stress, anxiety and compromised online safety mechanisms for them. It has led to potentially unsafe, dangerous or risky online situations and behaviours that kids are indulging in. Parents believe that their child's privacy and security are at risk and there are high chances of impersonation of digital identities, hacking, being coerced into sharing private information or making online purchases without parental permission. 75% of parents have noted their kids making impulsive in-app purchases, and are worried that they may be careless in divulging personal information.
But the positive news is that parents are taking action towards monitoring the online activities of their children. 80% of parents surveyed feel it necessary to actively monitor content being consumed by their little ones and 75% of parents now make it a point to supervise their kids' online activity. This is in stark contrast to a study conducted by OLX in January 2021, where 60% of parents surveyed admitted to not monitoring their kids' online content consumption. Clearly, extended lockdowns have made Indian parents more vigilant and aware.
There is an increasing concern about the mental health of kids, 60% of parents surveyed observed a decline in their child's physical and mental wellbeing. Furthermore, 80% of parents shared that the development of their kids' social skills has been severely impacted. Inputs from respondents also highlight the concrete actions taken towards managing this situation, and are generally positive. As coping mechanisms, parents indicate that they have started to take more interest in enhancing their own digital skills (80%) to keep up with their kids, and spending dedicated time with their kids to check on their health and wellbeing more regularly (65%). On the bright side, over 4 in 5 parents (82%) were hopeful that their kids' newly developed internet obsession will recede, once the pandemic subsides in 2022 and normalcy is restored to some extent.
Talking about how smart devices are governing every child's life, Sapna Aroa, CMO, OLX India said, "With another year of being confined to homes, the new normal has definitely taken a toll on everybody's mental health. The demand for smart devices and the internet has seen a steep rise due to online classes, not just school but extra-curricular and co-curricular as well. This is a novel experience for both children and parents, who need to quickly become comfortable with this new world of learning." She further added, "Our intent through this study was to get a first-hand account of how parents are dealing with their child's accelerated and increased exposure to online classes. These inputs are valuable in keeping online experiences safe and secure for everyone," Sapna said. Over 60% of the participants in this study were from Tier II and Tier III cities, where internet penetration and technology usage has been heavily accelerated due to the pandemic, and their perspectives were aligned with those from Metros and Tier I cities. The study was conducted with 1500 parents across India who had kids between the age groups of 5-18 and were residing out of the leading metro and non-metro cities.