'Majority of kids aren't "friends" with parents on FB'

Majority of students are not "friends" with their parents on Facebook, schoolchildren have more multiple accounts compared to college-goers, and one-third put in public their contact details without knowing the harm it can cause.

These and more form part of a study by a senior IPS officer Varun Kapoor on Facebook usage among school and college students undertaken for government's police think-tank Bureau of Police Research and Training (BPRD).

In the study conducted through a survey of 500 students, Kapoor warns that the Facebook and other social networking platforms are fast becoming a "vast hunting ground" for all sorts of criminal elements and all types of crimes are occurring through them.

According to the 'Study of Facebook Usage Trends Among Students and Precautions Based on Findings', 19% of the students from Class X to XII surveyed have more than one Facebook account as against 16% college students.

Kapoor calls it an "interesting scenario" as school students again surprise when asked about having more than two accounts. It is considerably higher than the corresponding figure for college students — 20% vs 13%.

“If this account is in a wrong or fictitious name then it adds to the suspicion...It is also a breach of contract that the maker of the account signs with Facebook — that is to provide correct information. In addition, it is also impersonation if it is made in a fake name. Thus such habits for making more than one profile have to be discouraged amongst students,” Kapoor says.

When it comes to parents, 58% of school and 57% of college students admit they do not have them on their friends' list, which Kapoor identifies as a “worrying trend”. Kapoor wants parents to be watchful of their children's social media interactions.

Many students are also not aware of the security risks involved in giving out one's contact details like telephone number and address on Facebook profiles. Around one-third of the students have shared personal details.

Another warning comes on accepting friend requests — 34% of school and 37% of college students say that they accept such requests from total strangers.

"What can be more harmful and dangerous than this. More than one-third students indulge in this highly risky behaviour. This may be out of temptation, curiosity or plain competition. Whatever may be the reason, it is an activity which is totally avoidable and if continued with impunity, may lead to severe complications and troubles for the concerned individual," he warns.

While only 11% of school students post or share content against politician or celebrity, 22% of college goer do so, depicting the “rebellious nature of the youth”. However, Kapoor says, “this attitude can bring about positive change but on the contrary, this may also threaten the stability and sanity of the society – if stretched to absurd limits – which it is more often than not.”

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'Majority of kids aren't "friends" with parents on FB'

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