New Zealand parents are in the dark about their kids’ online activities and are avoiding crucial conversations about their children’s online privacy and security practices according to survey data released by Internet security company, Norton by Symantec.
Polling more than 600 New Zealand parents nationwide, the Norton survey examines parents’ understanding of and involvement with their children’s online activities. The survey reveals that 74 percent of New Zealand parents are oblivious to their children’s online lives.
The Norton survey also shows that many parents are disconnected from their children’s online world and are not engaging with them about Internet practices that can harm them both now and in the future. For example, almost half (48 percent) of Kiwi parents surveyed never check their children’s online activities and a similar amount never discuss cyberbullying (52 percent). In addition, one in five New Zealand parents admitted their young children had joined a social networking account when they did not meet the minimum age rule.
“Children today have access to a world of content,” said Mark Shaw, Technology Strategist, Symantec Pacific Region. “They’re interacting online via websites, apps, games and online forums at a younger age and more than ever. But it’s impossible for parents to watch over their kids every second they’re online. Parents need to arm their children with the knowledge and skills they need to use the Internet positively without compromising their privacy and security or that of their friends.”
Alarmingly, almost one in ten (eight percent) New Zealand parents surveyed had been warned about their child’s social media activities by their school, and 10 percent of parents had admitted to having at least one child impacted by cyberbullying, but more than a quarter of parents (27 percent) don’t even know if their children have been cyberbullied.
Mark Shaw said that while parents are concerned about what their children may be exposed to online, many are not doing enough to help keep their children safe.
“We talk to our children about keeping safe in the physical world – whether it’s road safety, stranger danger or safe sex education. We need to be having the same conversations about keeping safe in the online world. To many the Internet doesn’t feel like the real world, which means things that would be off limits in the physical world don’t ring the same alarm bells when they happen online. But being always connected means that unpleasant online exchanges can happen 24/7, escalate rapidly, and gain wide visibility, making them all the more damaging for children.
“Parents need to know what they can do to protect their children online and take an active role in their children’s online safety,” said Mark.
While technologies exist today that help parents keep their children safe online, 53 percent of parents surveyed confess they never discuss using privacy settings on their children’s social networking accounts, and 64 percent of parents do not have parental controls set up on their children’s connected devices. In addition, more than half (52 percent) of New Zealand parents surveyed admit to not having any rules in place about what their child can or cannot do online.
“There are simple steps parents can take to protect their children online. Simply having an open conversation with children about their online habits can go a long way towards protecting children online. Norton also recommends turning on the filtering and security features in search engines and social networking accounts and installing free parental control software, such as Norton Family,” said Mark.