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Internet-savvy youth

Three-quarters (77 per cent) of UK children are actively using the internet by age 10 and a good two in five (43 per cent) believe they are more ‘internet-savvy’ than their parents by 13. That is according to new research by the IT security product firm Kaspersky Lab.

However, the study of 1,000 eight to 16-year-olds by Arlington Research for Kaspersky Lab, shows that most children look to their parents to help them when it comes to staying safe online (60 per cent). This trust in parents is often misplaced as research demonstrates that parents don’t feel in control of protecting their children online as they are worried about cyber-bullying and inappropriate content online (83 per cent) with half (51 per cent) believing that these risks are increasing.

Other major worries are that children are sharing too much personal information about themselves (41 per cent), and that they could come into contact with dangerous strangers (39 per cent). The survey also reveals a communication breakdown between children and their parents, with only a fifth believing that they can they talk freely with them about their activities on the web.

David Emm, pictured, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab says: “My concern is that parents may believe that their children are more technology savvy, but they are not necessarily cyber savvy. Our survey demonstrates that children are still putting their faith in their parents when it comes to staying safe online, but parents themselves are struggling to keep up with the risks and dangers, and feel powerless when it comes to protecting their kids. It is vitally important that they have the software and support they need to keep their loved ones secure.

“The good news is that schools today are playing an active role in educating young people about dangers online with 70 per cent of the young people surveyed saying their school helps them to use the internet safely. However parents whose children don’t openly discuss their activity risk being left behind when their children are online – and not being present when their children most need their help.”

Comment

Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online says: “There’s no doubt kids are becoming more and more ‘internet savvy’ as younger generations embrace the many brilliant opportunities the online world offers. However, because of this, there needs to be a strong level of awareness about online safety and the potential risks out there. We encourage parents to have an open and honest dialogue with their kids about cyber safety, whether that’s reminding them to change their security settings to private when setting up social media accounts, to making sure all devices are protected by security software, to reporting any suspicious behaviour or cases of cyber-bullying.

“Of course, parents can’t know what their children are doing every second of the day, but they can put a good system in place so that their children are at less risk of falling victim to online crime and know how to protect themselves, particularly as attacks become more targeted and personal. It’s also great to see schools raise the issue early on too.”


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