Kids more afraid of losing friends online than offline

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INDIA: Online friendships is as much as real world friendships for many children. So much so that a new research by Kaspersky Lab and iconKids & Youth reveals that over two fifths of kids (42%) have claimed that they are equally afraid to lose friends online and offline, and one in ten (11%) are more afraid to lose friends online than offline.


Kids are increasingly using connected devices to communicate with their friends and peer pressure is one primary reason that is making children more dependent on staying connected to the Internet. 44% of young people say they use a connected device because their friends do and one third of kids (32%) keep in touch with their friends more often online than offline.

One more shocking revelation is that over half of parents (52%) provide their children with mobile devices so that they can communicate with their peers. One in four (27%) parents provide their children with connected devices because of concerns that their child would be treated as an outsider without them.

The research also reveals that the older children get, the less likely they are to meet friends face-to-face, preferring to use instant messengers, social networks and SMS to communicate. 76% of kids aged between eight and 10 prefer real world contact, as opposed to only 46% of teenagers aged 14-16.

Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab, comments: “Kids are now experiencing peer pressure to use online tools as part of everyday communication and it’s important that parents are as vigilant as possible to the threats and aware of what their kids are doing on the Internet. It is also very important to talk to the child, explain online dangers and the advantages of communicating in the offline world.”

Janice Richardson, Senior Advisor at European Schoolnet, says: “Young people today generally cultivate their friendships in a blended on- and offline environment, and we are already getting a glimpse of the problems that can arise from this form of socialization. We at European Schoolnet believe that developing a young person’s capacity for self-reflection and empathy is essential. As the most impactful way for a child to learn is by example, it is up to parents to show their children how enjoyable and entertaining face-to-face conversations can be and that real life is just as much fun and entertaining as virtual life.”