Indian kids, teens more vulnerable than ever to smartphone threats

Children and teenagers are more vulnerable than ever to sophisticated mobile threats in India as the level of disconnect that exists between generations over how safe mobile devices are and how vulnerable consumers are to threats on those devices has increased significantly, a new report has shown.

As smartphones replace PCs/laptops as the primary device, a high level of trust in smartphone security exists among Indian children and teens, but is coupled with a low level of protection, even though risk is at an all-time high, revealed the ‘2022 Consumer Mobile Threat Report’ by cyber-security research firm McAfee.

“As our use of mobile devices rapidly increases, we must remember that a mobile device is a connected device, just like a computer,” said Gagan Singh, McAfee Executive Vice President, Chief Product and Revenue Officer.

In India, most children (75 per cent) think a new phone is more secure than a new computer, whereas only 71 per cent of parents agree.

“In India, 57 per cent of parents use passwords to protect mobile devices, while only 43 per cent of children and teens do, creating safety risks,” the findings showed.

In India, 39 per cent of parents of boys aged 10-14 put mobile parental controls software on their children’s devices compared to 33 per cent for girls of the same age.

“In India, 27 per cent of boys 10-14 reported a threat to their account compared to 21 per cent of girls the same age,” said the report.

Nearly 21 per cent of boys 10-14 reported cyberbullying while 20 per cent of girls 10-14 reported cyberbullying.

The research showed that globally, at the age of 15, mobile use jumps significantly and stays consistent into adulthood.

“Usage of social media in India showed significant differences by gender, and girls reported adopting almost all mobile activities at a rate higher than boys,” the report mentioned.

In the country, 52 per cent of girls 10-14 stream music compared to 42 per cent of boys while 38 per cent of girls online shop compared to 32 per cent of boys.

“One noted exception in India is that 55 per cent of boys 10-14 are gaming on mobile compared to 45 per cent of girls the same age,” the report added.

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