A 2014 Digital Deception in Canada study, sponsored by McAfee, shows kids are rather adept at concealing online actions, as 76 percent of children admit to actively hiding online behavior from their parents.
The McAfee study polled 350 kids and youth adults between the ages of 10 and 23 – using an online LegerWeb survey between January 3 and January 21, 2014. They were questioned regarding their online behavior, and produced interesting results.
- Of those hiding their online activities, 50 percent of girls habitually clear their viewing history after each Internet session.
- Nearly 56 percent watch video content or view websites they knew their parents would disapprove of.
- Seventy percent of teens actively searched for sensitive information and inappropriate content online – on sex, drugs, simulated/real-life violence, bullying, eating disorders, and depression.
- Thirty-nine percent of teenage males and 47.7 percent of their female counterparts search for topics like intercourse, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- More than 22 percent made a point to view online content away from home.
- Girls were found to be more likely to hack into someone else’s email and social network account compared to boys (13.7 percent vs. 6.5 percent respectfully).
- One-fourth of kids said their parents did not make any effort to monitor their online behavior. Only 35 percent of parents attempted to monitor their child’s actions with active parental controls.
Brenda Moretto, Canadian Consumer Sales Manager at McAfee says in Yahoo News, “This study has shown the importance of parental involvement in influencing and maintaining a healthy level of proper online attitudes and conduct amongst our youth. Through active engagement, we can help them understand the importance of being responsible and making smarter cyber choices.”
Parents may want to become more tech savvy, involved, and start monitoring their kids’ digital actions – both on their computer and smartphones – as impressionable and impulsive minds can succumb to suggestibility regarding sexting and interacting with strangers online.
Engage in a conversation about being safe online: set parental controls on computers and personal devices; get passwords to email and social networking accounts (Facebook, Twitter); and requisition mobile phones and computers along with any other Internet-enabled devices if kids fail to comply.
[Image: Pro Juventute]