New Delhi: As “risky behaviour", more than half of Indian teens meet people in real life whom they found online, security solutions provider McAfee said on Monday.

This “risky behaviour" is the highest in Indian teens and tweens compared to countries like Australia, Singapore, the US and Germany.

“Today, the teens and tweens are online for a longer duration of time on their smartphones and tablets. They are very comfortable operating in the online world, yet the risks have never been greater," Melanie Duca, APAC consumer marketing director, McAfee (part of Intel Security) told reporters in New Delhi. They need to understand the consequences of their online behaviour and how they can maintain their social engagement, she added. “About 52% said they chatted during online gaming, 49% on TV show fan pages and 42% live tweeting celebrities and others during a live show... What is also worrying is that despite majority (80%) of Indian youth being aware that their online activity can affect their identity, out of 90% who have done or posted something risky online, 70% have posted their contact details like email, phone, home address," Duca said.

According to McAfee’s Tweens, Teens and Technology Report 2014, 70% of online youth in India spend more than five hours on the Internet in a normal week. Though Internet access is still predominantly desktop based (41%), 36% said they use laptops and 27% smartphones.

While Facebook is by far the most popular site used (93%), followed by YouTube (87%) and WhatsApp (79%). Two-thirds said they feel more accepted on social media than they do in real life, while 72% said they feel important or popular when they receive a lot of “likes" on the photos posted of themselves on social media.

“Keeping up to the social pressure, 64% even admitted to have tried reinventing themselves online by trying to appear older or creating a fake profile or posting photos that are not their own," Duca said. About 46% said they put themselves in danger to see more engagement/activity on their posts (eg for more likes, comments, shares or retweets).

“What is alarming is that 10-12 year old social account users report higher daily access to Snapchat, Pinterest, Tinder, Tumblr, and Vine than their teen counterparts, even though the minimum age to register to these social networking sites is 13 years," Duca said.

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