With an uptick in virtual classes as students spend more time online, a majority of Indians believe that schools should educate children on online safety, according to a new study from McAfee Corp.

As per the study, 89 per cent Indians believe schools should educate children on online safety. Of these, 62 per cent believe that digital wellness and protection should have its own separate curriculum that is taught throughout grade school while 27 per cent feel it should be integrated into technology subjects like IT.

The report further added that 81 per cent of respondents in India said that since last year, at least one member in their household started either full time or part time online learning via virtual platforms.

In 34 per cent of households, these learners fall between the age group of 18-24 years, followed by 29 per cent between 13-18 years, 24 per cent between 5-12 years, 21 per cent between 25-35 years, 16 per cent over 35 years, and 9 per cent even under the age of 5.

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“Given that a large young audience has adapted to virtual learning, there’s a greater need to ensure their online safety,” the report said. On the bright side, 36 per cent of the respondents who participate in distant learning, purchased new security/protection technology in India.

“As they turn to remote and e-learning, students today, are at a heightened risk of online threats as their time spent online increases and they adapt to newer tools,” said Judith Bitterli, senior vice president of Consumer at McAfee.

“With students as well as teachers now operating from lesser controlled environments, the need to educate them on basics such as phishing, cyberbullying, and inculcating overall cybersecurity hygiene is imperative. Educational institutions must approach cybersecurity holistically, particularly now that technology pervades nearly every facet of a child’s life. As technology has transformed the educational sector, cybersecurity too must be part of the school curriculum, and entrenched in the way we teach, and the way we learn,” Bitterli added.

As per McAfee’s Cloud Adoption and Risk Report – Work From Home Edition released in May last year, the education sector witnessed the second highest increase in the amount of threat events in their cloud accounts for both internal and external threats.

For parents, there were significant areas of concerns for their kids including illegal content (55 per cent), sharing personal information (53 per cent), exposure to scams (53 per cent), cyber-bullying (52 per cent) and misinformation (49 per cent).