COIMBATORE: Over the last one year the first thing Kaushik, a student in Coimbatore, does once he wakes up in the morning is to check his Facebook account notifications. He has also switched three smartphones in less than 12 months for quicker access to online social networks.
Similar is the case of an estimated 70 per cent of youngsters who are increasingly getting glued to the screens of smartphones killing time over social networking sites, according to experts. Dr S Ananth, a Coimbatore-based psychiatrist states that youths seeking psychiatric counselling for internet addiction is increasing in cities. In short, browsing social networking websites have become the favourite pastime for them.
“Many do not recognise that they are addicted to microblogging services like Twitter and networking sites like Facebook, which literally consume most of their time in a day. The issue has to be seriously addressed with enough parental guidance where individuals also need to develop self control over using such contents,” says Dr Ananth.
Kapaleeswaran V, vice president of Cyber Society of India (CySI), feels that creating awareness about the web’s hidden threats is the need of the hour. “More education and awareness have to be provided for and availed by vulnerable groups like students, housewives and internet users with little educational background. These are the groups who easily get into hidden traps,” he says.
He also warns against the increasing trend of people uploading private photos and other details on the web, especially on social networking sites. “Once the data is uploaded, it becomes no more private,” he points out. The CySI has been undertaking awareness campaigns for people to recognise between true and false accounts and secure and insecure websites, besides seeing tempting traps for what they are.
CySI president V Rajendran says that sites like Facebook have been following ritualistic formalities in starting accounts. “Even a schoolboy can open an account by giving fake information. No physical verification is made. This leads to problems like creating fake accounts in the name of somebody else and putting undesirable contents on the web,” he cautions.