Online security can be a confusing issue for many, but it is a particular concern for parents trying to protect their children from what might be lurking on the internet. According to a new report by McAfee, most Australian children and teenagers think their parents have no idea what they get up to online.
The report surveyed 1,000 children in Australia aged between 8 and 17, and found that 70% of those asked claimed that their parents didn’t know what they did online, with the same number admitting to trying to hide that information. This was done in a number of ways, reflecting the youngsters’ abilities to work their way around a computer. Almost half the children cleared their browser history or used the private mode; one third chose to hide or delete files and one tenth even went to the measure of creating fake social media accounts.
Unfortunately, this suggests that members of the new online generation are outsmarting their parents. According to McAfee chief technology officer Sean Duca, there are a lot of parents who mistakenly think that they are in charge of their family’s technology use. However, if you were to ask them who set up the wireless network in their homes, the answer is almost invariably the children. Duca argues that kids are “digital natives” who are well ahead of the older generation.
The main online worry stated by children aged 8 to 12 was cyber-bullying, with 80% of all those asked having witnessed this happen – that’s a massive increase of 56% since 2013. Nearly 40% identified themselves to victims of this issue, which is even more concerning for parents wishing to protect their children. Teenagers aged 13 to 17 were more worried about hackers, privacy and data issues.
But before you freak out completely, there were some positive outcomes from the study; 83% of children said that they respected their parents’ guidance, and that privacy and safety were a priority – with most saying they only interacted with people they knew in real life.
The report also suggested some tips for parents to educate their children about safety:
1. Have an honest talk with them about online risks, and keep communication open.
2. Research the technology that they are using – this will keep you one step ahead.
3. Keep up-to-date with the latest social networks, and join them yourself so you know how they operate.
4. Ensure your children know that anything they post online is permanent, and could affect their future reputation.
5. Stay calm! Deal with any issues calmly and rationally. If you threaten punishment, they may not come to you for advice next time.
If you’re concerned about your own family’s security and would like to learn more about either internet security or data recovery and back up, Geeks to the Rescue can help. We offer friendly, simple solutions, minus all the tech speak – perfect if you’re not, well, down with the kids. Drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on (08) 9313 1855.