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  • Parents Are Worried About Their Kids' Online Safety, But Aren't Talking About It

    A survey discovered that online safety is a difficult conversation topic for many parents.
    by Kate Borbon .
Parents Are Worried About Their Kids' Online Safety, But Aren't Talking About It
PHOTO BY iStock
  • With the growing popularity of social media, online safety is a big concern for many parents. Still, according to a new survey from the cybersecurity company Kaspersky, 84% of moms and dads are not discussing the subject with their children.

    The survey involved nearly 9,000 parents of seven- to 12-year-old children from 20 countries in different regions of the world. The researchers looked into how internet-enabled devices are used at home, the biggest concerns parents have with online security, and what they are doing to tackle those issues.

    The survey found that over nine out of 10 children between seven and 12 years old around the world have an internet-enabled device, smartphone, or tablet.

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    64% of parents agree that their children spend too much time online, which means that they not only miss out on the other joys of childhood (like play) but also find themselves exposed to the possible risks of being on the Internet.

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    According to the survey, parents consider the following the most dangerous online threats for kids: sexual or violent content (27%), internet addiction (26%), and receiving anonymous messages or content inciting them to carry out violent or inappropriate activities (14%).

    81% of parents believe that parents and schools have a joint responsibility to talk to their children about online safety and the potential dangers of using the Internet. 86% say that it is better for parents to do this discussion since kids generally trust them more.

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    Still, the survey has concluded that online safety remains a difficult conversation for many parents to start. They cited the following factors as the biggest reasons behind this difficulty:

    • Explaining the threats in a way that the children can understand and relate to (60%)
    • Getting the children to take those threats seriously (51%)
    • Giving the children the confidence not to follow peer pressure (42%)

    Emma Kenny, a psychologist, columnist, and TV and radio presenter, says, “Whilst it is completely understandable that parents do not want their children to feel fearful about going online, it is essential that this doesn’t mean that they take a lax approach to internet safety. Balance is key and an informed child is a safe child.”

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    Kenny continues that by talking about online safety and etiquette, parents make sure their kids get the best out of using the Internet and feel reassured about their kids’ online behavior.

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    “Children need to be protected, and parents can do this by firstly educating themselves about the sites that their children visit by spending time with them as they surf the web, and secondly, by ensuring they have a reliable solution that protects their children from stumbling on inappropriate or offensive material,” she says.

    Kaspersky shares the following tips to help parents protect their children from various Internet threats:

    • Know what your child is looking for online and offer help and support.
    • Discuss with your child how much time she can spend online.
    • Encourage your child to be careful when choosing friends and acquaintances.

    Nowadays, it's extremely popular for parents to share photos of their families on social media. If you do this but are worried about how it can compromise your kids' safety, click here.

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