With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, our internet usage has surged more than we could have ever imagined. We have grown increasingly dependent on technology and our days are now spent immersed in the wonders of the internet world. 

As part of a study for Safer Internet Day, OLX has released a report on the web usage habits of Indians over the last year. 

This extensive study looked into the internet usage patterns of nearly 6000 Indian users, with around 73 percent of the respondents belonging to the age-group of 18-37.

Almost 53 percent of the respondents were from metro cities, while the remaining 47 percent were from non-metro cities. 

What Is Safer Internet Day? 

Safer Internet Day is observed every year in the month of February, on the second day of the second week, and is a globally celebrated occasion.

As the name suggests, this initiative aims to create a safer and more secure online environment, where people need not fear their data being leaked on the internet. 

Logo of the Safer Internet Day initiative

This initiative was started by the EU SafeBorders in 2004 and was then taken up the Insafe network in 2005. Each year the initiative adopts a theme and tries to increase awareness about recent and emerging online issues like cyberbullying and internet security.

This day is celebrated worldwide in nearly 170 countries, and 2021 marks its 18th edition. 

OLX’s Report Findings 

The report revealed several intriguing and fascinating data on Indian internet users. The report’s most prominent focal point was how nearly 81 percent of users were now avoiding certain apps/platforms in fear of privacy concerns. 

This avoidance has been attributed to the increased awareness of users on data protection and privacy. As a result, they have stopped using apps or platforms that have been notorious for collecting data.

Read More: Fake Friendly Fridays: We Talk To Internet Activists Who Sign Random Petitions On WhatsApp

The pandemic has definitely influenced the internet usage of Indian households tremendously. Not only has the usage increased by nearly 50%, but an adverse effect of this increased use has been an escalation of cyber fraud across almost 61% of Indian households.  

However, the positive side of this is that users have generally grown more aware of the ongoing Internet issues and have started becoming more cautious about their activity online. Nearly 82 percent of the respondents were conscious of the same and have taken precautions. 

A portion of the respondents (57%) have also stopped opening suspicious messages, emails, misleading links and any other form of communication with fake information. 

However, misinformation is still a significant concern among Indian users as only 45 percent of the users verify the news they come across online. This data reveals that the vast majority is still a victim of fake news and misleading information. 

In terms of the number of family members who use the internet, 58 percent said that all family members regularly access the internet. However, around 15 percent reported that elders were the primary users in their households! As per the report: 

“The most common use cases of internet usage during the pandemic have been working from home, social media usage and online shopping by 64 percent of the respondents.”

The report even detailed how cyber financial awareness has increased. Only around 22 percent of the respondents fell prey to online scams and shared information like passwords, UPI pins and credit and debit card details. Overall, however, people have begun to take preventive measures against sharing financial information online. 

From the OLX study findings, one thing that strikes us immediately is how people have begun to take far more care of their data and information online. This change is a forward-looking step towards ensuring that the Internet becomes a safer space for all Internet users.

Sources: Hindustan Times, The Hindu, India Today 

Image Credits: Google Images

Find the Blogger: @MalavikaMenon28

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