Mumbai Students Want Cyber Safety as a Subject in their Academic Curriculum, says Research Conducted by Ahaan Foundation

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Mumbai Students Want Cyber Safety as a Subject in their Academic Curriculum, says Research Conducted by Ahaan Foundation
Mumbai Students Want Cyber Safety as a Subject in their Academic Curriculum, says Research Conducted by Ahaan Foundation

Mumbai Students Want Cyber Safety as a Subject in their Academic Curriculum, says Research Conducted by Ahaan Foundation

 

Ahaan Foundation,an NGO focused on activating more socially responsible children and youth, in their first initiative under the movement ‘Responsible Netism’ have conducted a study in collaboration with the college of Home Science Nirmala Niketan on 1200 students within Thane and Mumbai. The project Responsible Netism has received approval and support form Honorable Shri. Vinod Tawde Ji – Minister of School, Higher and Technical Education Maharashtra and the research under this initiative went on for a year where students from standard 6th to 10th were asked questions about their views on cyber safety and cybercrime.

 

Some of the key findings of the report:

  • Internet access and usage begins at age as young as 5 years, with 10 years being the average age of introduction to internet usage among both boys and girls
  • 14 % of boys used the internet only to download games where as only 3.3% girl’s downloaded online games as their most preferred reason to access the internet
  • WhatsApp was the most preferred and most used application to connect amongst boys and girls, while 49.9% girls used WhatsApp, 33.1% boys used it
  • For about 28.8% girls and 29.8% boys You-Tube was the most used app. While 16.9 % girls used the internet for Facebook, 24.4% boys used it for social connectivity
  • On an average, about 60 % of children were aware of the terms Cyber Crime, Cyber Safety, Responsible Netizens and Hacking, our awareness sessions helped them understand the meaning and their repercussions and increased their knowledge to about 70 %
  • Of the total participants, 89.3% gave the right response for the term cyber bullying in the Post-test against the same in the Pre-test 67.4%
  • 70.5% gave the right response for the term cyber pornography in the Post-test while only 33.1% indicated the same in the Pre-test
  • We were delighted to know that over 94% of the students felt the need to incorporate this content into their academic curriculum to protect themselves, their parents and friends from online crimes

 

Observations from the research conducted

  • Unmonitored internet access under age 10 increases vulnerability and could encourage unhealthy habits affecting their behavior
  • Exposure to online games mostly from unauthorized websites could pose various dangers and threats that children and parents need to be aware of
  • The risk of unfiltered content open for viewership, due to the lack of awareness about parental control applications among parents leading to exposure to age inappropriate content
  • Children have faced online distress at various levels, but had no one to share it with or seek help, our sessions provided a platform to discuss share learn and take corrective action
  • Children are aware of illegal online activities and often indulge in them, but are unaware of its legal implications on them
  • The biggest myth they do not seem to accept is that nothing wrong would happen to them since they understand technology better than any adult and hence do not seem to use and follow techniques to protect themselves
  • Children also suggested the following topics be included on cyber safety: what is cyber-crime, types of cyber-crimes, prevention and guidelines for protection, advantages of cyber safety and laws on online safety.
  • This brought to light their understanding on the magnitude of issue, its impacts on their lives and need to safeguard them which would enable us as an organization to put into practice to build a smarter and digitally safer city to live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking on the study conducted, Spokesperson Sonali Patankar – President Ahaan Foundation, said, “Over the last few years, cybercrime has seen a meteoric rise. These intimidations pose grave risks to students since most of them are ill-informed about this issue. Through our movement, Responsible Netism, we wanted to highlight these issues and how we can bring about more socially responsible netizens in India.She added, “The study has brought about many interesting insights, but the most fascinating one was the fact thatover 94% of the students felt the need to incorporate cyber safety content into their academic curriculum to protect themselves, their parents and friends from online crimes.

 

 

Responsible Netism

 

Dr. Kamini Rege, Assistant Professor, Dept of Human Development, Nirmala Niketan College of Home Science, Affiliated to University of Mumbai, said on the report launch, “Research conducted 1200 children in Mumbai and Thane district in the year 2016-2017 reveals that children have an extremely low level of awareness and knowledge on being Responsible Netism. Thus, it is important in helping children and youth by creating awareness and imparting education regarding preventing abuse and misuse; and promoting guidelines for cyber safety and security.” She also added, “I strongly believe that collective efforts need to be taken by professionals from the field of education, research and media, for creating awareness through value added school curriculum for children and youth along with parenting sessions and workshops to build a CYBER SAFE WORLD for our children.”

 

The research was conducted by the Masters Students Ms. Soumya Shetty and Ms. Virginia Dias under the guidance of Dr.Kamini Rege, Assistant Professor of Dept. of Human Development; College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan, affiliated to the University of Mumbai.

 

The RESPONSIBLE NETISM movement, in conjunction with the Thane and Mumbai Cyber cells, plans to sensitize children, youth and parents within the sphere of educational institutions since academia plays a crucial role in impacting and developing children and youth. They conduct customized ‘One-time One-hour’ child-friendly interactive sessions titled Being Responsible Netizens” for students of STD V onwards and for parents. The sessions focus on highlighting psychological impacts and legal implications of irresponsible online behavior and provide technical tips to secure gadgets to enable constructive use of technology and promote online safety. The “Being Responsible Netizens” programme has been sponsored by Quick Heal Foundation for 2016-17.

 

About Ahaan Foundation

Ahaan Foundation is a trust registered in 2012, aimed at mobilizing and empowering people towards self enhancement transition and evolution. The organization works towards sensitizing children youth and adults towards themselves and social issues impacting their lives thereby strengthening them to utilize their potential to bring about a change through collective action. Ahaan Foundation’s first initiative, the movement “RESPONSIBLE NETISM” aspires towards building a cyber safe world for children and adults by promoting cyber wellness and responsible online behavior.

 

The movement RESPONSIBLE NETISM aims at enabling children youth and adults to experience the JOY OF INTERNET such that they fully understand its comprehensive impact thus become responsible in their presence and conduct on the World Wide Web to protect themselves from online threats and consciously engage in safe online behavior.

 

Our Accomplishments

  • Successfully sensitized over 8.5 Lakh students teachers and parents within Thane and Mumbai since 2012.
  • Received the BEST E- NGO AWARD 2014 at theManthan South West Asia Awards, organized by Digital Empowerment Foundation, standing tall against 180 participants from 12 states
  • The project has received approval from the MINISTRY OF SCHOOL, HIGHER and TECHNICAL  EDUCATION, MAHARASHTRA to run the programme across the state
  • Initiated and launched the 1st DIGITAL DISTRESS HELPLINE with the support of Vandrevala Foundation to provide technical, legal and psychological assistance to people facing online threats.
  • Conducted 2 extensive studies on 1. The growing aggression and violence among 700 children as a direct consequence of online gaming and gadget addiction, 2. Understanding online trends of 2500 children and adults within Mumbai and Thane.

 

Achievments in 2016-17

  • Sensitized 6,30,080 students and adults in 415 schools about Being Responsible Netizens by conducting 2350 sessions
  • Successfully hosted the First two day National Cyber Psychology Conference 2017 of the state
  • Initiated the project Digitally and Safe Thane 2016-17
  • Promoted cyber safety at national and international platforms and forums

 

We appeal to people to support us to fulfill our goals; we strongly believe in collective action and look forward towards building a Cyber Safe World for our children and ourselves thus promoting Responsible Living.

 

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