Internet zone: Children below 13 keep out!

By : |February 14, 2000 0

Who said the Indian Net surfing community is a bunch of upwardly mobile,
liberal minded souls of tomorrow? You may have heard of Indian teenagers hitting
the jackpot in the area of Internet with their original ideas and power
technical know-how. However, if the present Internet community is to have a say
in the future generations preparation for the Internet onslaught, things do not
seem to be smooth, if one goes by the results of an online poll conducted on
CIOL last week.

CIOL readers were asked how long they thought a 13-year old child should be
allowed to surf the Internet in a week. The final result surprised us all. Of
the 312 votes cast in three days, an astonishing 44 per cent (134 votes) firmly
said that children should to totally barred from using the Internet!

On the other hand, a handsome 22 per cent (69 votes) felt that there should
be no restriction on the time period and they should be allowed to surf as long
as they want. On how long they should be allowed, the voters seemed to be
following the view of "the less the better". 18 per cent felt that the
children should be allowed for one to two hours a week. While, nine per cent
were for 3-4 hours a week, eight per cent wanted higher time period of 5-6
hours.

What could this possibly be reflecting? It has been almost five years since
Indian first got the taste of the Internet. However, the fear of the new medium’s
potential disastrous effects and doubt over its possible desirable applications
still mar the Indian surfer’s psyche.

The poll results are a contrary to what the facts are. The average age of Net
surfer’s in the country would fall in the category of youngster. The More and
more students in their teens are reported to be jumping into the Internet
bandwagon with their original ideas. One also gets to hear scores of dotcom
companies that being launched in the country.

As more and more homes get connected to the Internet, children accessing it
will only be on the rise. The netizens of the country are also more experienced
and a matured lot. Complaints of Internet being a place for sex and violence are
few these days. Greater attention goes into the use of the Internet for personal
and community development.

Hopefully, things will change as the population of netizens grows. Perhaps, a
repoll on the issue after a few months will be an interesting exercise.

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