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Against rules, 37.8% 10-year-olds have Facebook accounts, 24.3% on Instagram: NCPCR study

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About 37.8 per cent of children aged 10 years have Facebook accounts, while 24.3 per cent in the same age group are on Instagram, which is seemingly in contravention to the guidelines laid down by various social networking platforms, the apex child rights body NCPCR found in a new study.

The age barrier for creating an account on Facebook and Instagram happens to be 13 years.

In the study by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on the ‘Effects (Physical, Behavioural and Psycho-social) of using Mobile Phones and other Devices with Internet Accessibility by Children’, it was found that a large proportion of 10-year-olds have social media accounts.

According to the study, “37.8 per cent of 10-year-olds and 24.3 per cent of the same age group have Facebook and Instagram accounts, respectively”.

This is seemingly in contravention to the guidelines laid down by various social networking platforms, it noted.

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“Social media platforms contain and disperse such a variety of content, a lot of which is neither appropriate nor conducive for children. They can be anything from violent or vulgar content to instances of online abuse and bullying of children. Hence, in this regard, proper oversight and stricter enforcement is required,” it said.

Among the children who have accounts on the major social networking apps/sites, Facebook (used by 36.8 per cent) and Instagram (used by 45.50 per cent) are the most popular.

For the study, responses from a total of 5,811 participants, consisting of 3,491 school going children, 1,534 parents and 786 teachers from 60 schools, across six states in the country, were collected.

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The data also showed that the most prominent means to access smartphones and the internet for the children is through their parents’ mobile phones–62.6 per cent of respondents.

“It is also interesting to note that 30.2 per cent of the children of age groups (8 to 18 years) possess their own smartphones and use them for all purposes,” the study said.

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CHATTING OVER ONLINE STUDIES

The major activity for which children use smartphones/internet devices is “online learning and classes”, 94.8 per cent of the respondents were of this opinion, the study found.

The other major purposes of use include messaging applications (40 per cent), referring study materials (31 per cent), music (31.30 per cent) and games (20.80 per cent).

When asked about the features that children like to enjoy on smartphones/internet devices, 52.9 per cent answered as chatting. Only 10.1 per cent of children like to use smartphones for online learning and education.

According to the data collected, 78.90 per cent of children said that they spend between 0-2 hours on their smartphones for using the internet, playing games, listening to music, chatting, among others, which is quite less compared to popular perception.

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While 15.80 per cent of the children spend 2-4 hours on the smartphones, 5.30 per cent spend more than 4 hours on the same.

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SMARTPHONE USE AND SLEEP DISORDERS

The study found that about 76.20 per cent children use smartphones before going to sleep.

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According to the available literature, the use of smartphones/smart devices which have vibrant screens and motion pictures at a minimum of 36 frames per second, before going to sleep, has many negative and detrimental effects on the state of mind and health of humans, especially children. It can lead to adverse impact on them like sleep disorders, sleeplessness, anxiety, tiredness, among others, the study flagged.

The study also revealed that 23.80 per cent of children use smartphones while they are in bed, before going to sleep, which is quite a substantial proportion and a cause for concern. The data also indicated that use of a smartphone in bed increases with the increase in age of children.

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“About 13 per cent children ‘always’ use smartphones while studying, 23.30 per cent ‘frequently’ use them, 30.10 per cent ‘seldom’ use them and only 32.7 per cent of children ‘never check their smartphones while studying’.

“Approximately, 37.15 per cent of children, always or frequently, experience reduced levels of concentration due to smartphone use,” the study said.

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IMPACT OF SMARPHONE USAGE ON EDUCATION

The NCPCR study also found that a majority of children believe that using the internet has ‘very much’ or ‘partially’ increased their creativity, which is 31.5 per cent and 40.5 per cent, respectively.

While 29.7 per cent of the children feel that the Covid-19 pandemic has ‘very much’ had a negative impact, 43.7 per cent think it has had ‘partial’ negative impact on their education.

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“Hence, it could be concluded that the education of the majority of school children was negatively impacted due to the pandemic and its subsequent consequences,” the study said.

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Most of the teachers (54.1 per cent) who participated in the study believed the use of smartphones in the classroom is “immensely or somewhat distracting”.

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“Around 72.70 per cent of teachers had no prior experience of using smartphones/internet devices. Therefore, there is a need to equip the teachers with the digital knowhow and give them access to sufficient educational resources and teaching aids,” the study said.

The biggest challenge that teachers face in allowing the use of smartphones is that they find it “hard to monitor” what students are doing–36.1 per cent were of this opinion.

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WATCH | Schools reopen across globe; should India resume physical classes?

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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