In the year 1986, the Internet began in India and was available for educational and research purposes. It began with the launch of the Educational Research Network (ERNET), which was initiated by the Department of Electronics (DoE), with funding from the Government of India and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). It was publicly available from the 15th of August, 1995. The first publically available internet service in India was launched by state-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), which garnered 10,000 subscribers within the first 6 months of the launch. As of 2020, there are over 700 million active internet users in India, which is close to 55% of the population. Given the affordability of mobile devices along with the availability of cheaper data plans, accessing the internet through a mobile device is certainly the most common thing nowadays. Seeing the present rise in the number of internet users in rural India, we can predict that the number of active internet users in the country is likely to grow to 900 million by 2025.
If we talk about social network user penetration in India, there is a big probability to witness more than 65% of the total population using social media by 2025. Social Networking sites are taking the country by storm. With its dominating power to change the mindset of people, social media sites are also becoming a crucial platform for increasing business and sales. Currently, Facebook has the highest traffic at around 78% among social media platforms across the country. More and more people are signing up for profiles on online networks for communicating with each other in this advanced virtual world. Having said that, we cannot deny the fact that crime rates on the internet are also increasing. Some of the most common crimes being committed on or as a result of social media are online threats, stalking, cyberbullying, hacking, fraud, and a lot more, which sometimes end up disastrous for the users. Crime data presented in the Rajya Sabha showed that 93,000 cases of fraud and offenses were registered in India between 2017 and 2019. Spiking participation on unregulated social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram was held to be responsible for this.
We, as citizens of the country, should try our level best to keep ourselves safe from these circumstances. Some of the precautions which we all should keep in our mind while using social media networks daily:
- Logging out after each session.
- Not to click on suspicious links.
- Not to share social media credentials.
- Not accepting friend requests from unknowns.
- Putting a limit on what people can learn about us through our profiles.
Apart from that, almost all social media networking sites have pre-set or default privacy settings, which also helps in limiting the information available in search results. In the present number-driven generation, it can be really exciting to gain new followers on our social media handles, which is not always positive. Some followers or virtual friends can be problematic by introducing spam in one’s timeline.
Social media is indeed a big part of social and creative life, owing to the number of benefits that it has. It allows us to talk about what we know and what we want to be known for. It helps us increase our visibility and exposes us to a wide range of opportunities. We have a lot of people around us who have used social media networks to build their brand from the scratch. There are endless benefits of social media, and the internet in general, provided we use it responsibly, respectfully, and safely.