Notwithstanding the strict norms that prohibit children under age 13 years from opening an account on social networking site Facebook, a whopping 73 per cent kids aged between 8 and 13 from tier-I and tier-II cities in India are using the site, according to an Assocham survey.
The trend is dangerous as it can make children vulnerable to cyber bullying and online sexual abuse, the survey said.
"Minors lack the experience or judgement to use a social network and this raises the scary possibility of predators tracking down kids who reveal their age in an online chat, to cyber bullying and sexual abuse," Chairman of Assocham Health Committee B K Rao said.
As per the survey findings, nearly 25 per cent kids aged 13 years, 22 per cent aged 11 and 15 per cent aged 10 are on Facebook, while 5 to 10 per cent kids aged 8 and 9 years are also active on the site.
Terming the statistics as "sad and shocking", the survey found that majority of the parents help kids lie to get on Facebook, only to repent later as the kids become addicted to the social networking site.
In fact, 75 per cent parents are aware of their child signing up for the site, and 82 per cent out of these parents helped create the child's account, it pointed out.
The survey was conducted on 4,200 parents of children aged between 8 years and 13 years in major metropolitan cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow and Dehradun, among others.