Tension is building up in the homes of modern families, and the Internet and connected devices are partly to blame, says new research from Kaspersky Lab, an international company that provides software security services, and iconKids & Youth, a market researcher company based in Germany.
The study involved gathering data from over 3,700 families who have kids aged eight to 16 years old in seven countries about their Internet and gadget use at home. Overall, 21 percent of parents and 22 percent of kids say that the Internet have caused family tension, partly because the devices used to go online were shared among family members.
A third of parents (31%) complain that their child has broken something on a connected device or infected it with a virus while online (30%), and a quarter (24%) has had to pay for something their child had ordered or downloaded. Similarly, 13% of kids accuse parents of breaking a device and 16% complain that their parents had accidentally deleted some of their data.
Most concerning of all, 31 percent of parents believe that the Internet is isolating them from their children. One in four parents, specifically 23 percent, say their kids now prefer to go online, whether it is to ask questions or seek advice, rather than talk to their mom or dad.
Are you friends with your kid on Facebook? Because researchers also found that 42 percent of parents weren’t friends with their children on the social network with one-in-five saying it’s because their children would find it embarrassing.
If you think your kids are spending too much time online, well, the kids think the same way about you. A study conducted last year by AVG Technologies found that 52 percent of children think their parents spend too much time on their mobile phones. Even more disheartening, 32 percent of the children felt unimportant when their parents used their phones during meal times, conversations, when watching television, and playing outside.
Half of parents were aware of this, with 54 percent saying that they agreed with their children that they were on their phone too much and worried that they were setting a bad example.
“It is important that families maintain an ongoing dialogue about how to spot and respond to potential dangers, with parents and children together agreeing on the basic rules on how they can best navigate the digital world,” said Andrei Mochola, head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.
“Although Internet becomes a source of conflict in some families, a recent study by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission interestingly underlines an emerging trend, with siblings and extended family members taking on a much bigger role in children’s online activities. Unsurprisingly, children are instinctively turning to the person they perceive to be able to fix technical issues, advise on sites, and security tools and provide more objective responses to delicate queries,” commented Janice Richardson, senior advisor at European Schoolnet.
She adds, “This underlines the importance of parents and guardians developing their own technical competence and building trusting relationships with their children while also establishing basic rules on Internet and device usage to avoid conflicts. At the same time, software and social media providers, too, should seek to develop more ‘family-friendly’ tools.”
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