Woburn, MA – December 2, 2021 – According to a new Kaspersky study, most parents are worried about their kids’ digital behavior and want to manage and monitor it. Half of American respondents (50%) use parental control apps, and 49% regularly check children’s Internet history. Overall, 44% of parents report their kids use digital devices under the supervision of either a parent (36%) or a family member (8%).
Modern children tend to be much more technically advanced from an early age than previous generations. One of the main reasons for this is that they have access to gadgets and hands-on experience from a much younger age, as confirmed by a recent Kaspersky survey. Still, kids may not know all the rules of secure online behavior. When parents give a child a gadget, many of them strive to monitor the kids’ online activity to ensure their safety.
The majority of parents in the U.S. seek to control the videos that children watch (59%), the sites they visit (57%), and the games they play (50%). In addition, 49% of respondents want to limit the time kids spend online and on their devices throughout the day.
Around half of parents discuss healthy digital habits with their kids (54%), use parental control apps (50%), and check their browsing history (49%). However, 31% said they trust their kids and do not control them in any way.
According to the survey results, parents and the family bear the main responsibility for regulating the behavior of children in the digital space (82%). That said, a third (33%) believe that teachers and schools should do this, and 31% feel that kids should have personal responsibility.
Ninety-four percent of parents discussed the rules of online behavior and digital etiquette with their children. Only 6% did not raise this topic with their kids (compared to 10% globally).
“Due to the fact that modern children from early childhood use smartphones and other gadgets, they perceive the digital space as something natural and familiar, like taking a walk,” Marina Titova, vice president, consumer product marketing at Kaspersky. “At the same time, the digital space also has its own rules of secure behavior, which many teach from childhood, such as not communicating with strangers or going to unfamiliar and unknown places. Parents can make their children’s digital world more secure by shielding them from inappropriate content and helping them learn how to be secure in a digital environment by using various tools and methods. For instance, adults can encourage certain digital habits within the family or use parental control apps, which can help filter out desirable and undesirable content categories, as well as check child’s online activity.”
“As therapists, we are convinced that trust is fundamentally better than control,” said therapists Birgitt Hölzel and Stefan Ruzas from the Munich practice Liebling + Schatz. “However, when it comes to media consumption, parents distrust the content on the internet, not their own children. That's why regulatory control is a good idea, because it aligns with parents’ desire to protect their kids. Nevertheless, there is a dilemma around how much control is necessary and how much is too much.
“We all know that children are always looking for new spaces to enjoy experiences that are free from parental control – this independence is important and should be allowed, depending on the child’s age. At the same time, it is important for parents to negotiate rules with children, even if these conversations are sometimes challenging. Kids respect rules and boundaries if they can understand them and any related consequences. That’s why we recommend that parents make use of child protection apps or make the activation of security settings transparent and explain them – this is how active media education succeeds.
“Most children have their first smartphone at the age of nine or 10. It is a gateway to a global world that is educational and entertaining, but also full of problematic content. Think of this exposure like road traffic – it's incredibly exciting and thrilling to get out there, but it's important that parents accompany their children step-by-step to stay in touch as much as possible. For driving, we have traffic rules and signs – we also need those on the internet.”
The full report is available via this link.
The following steps will help parents ensure their children are secure online:
· While using gadgets, kids may lack knowledge about cyber hygiene and online security. Parents can help by discussing possible scenarios with their children and setting an example.
· It is a good idea to install a parental control app. However, it is important to discuss this with your child and explain the reasons behind your actions so they understand.
· If your child is an active user of social networks and shares a lot of content, you should discuss the problem of oversharing and data privacy. You can also subscribe to each other on social networks and try to set an example. Always check geotags on photos, make sure that confidential information does not appear in photos or descriptions, check comments. Leading by example will also show your kid how to securely share information with subscribers online while maintaining their privacy.
About the survey
In September 2021, Kaspersky commissioned Sapio to conduct an online survey of 11,000 respondents to explore the role of healthy digital habits in the family and the effect of parenting habits on children and vice versa. The survey involved adults who live with their children aged 7-12 years old, full-time. The sample included 1,000 respondents from the UK, France, and Germany; and 500 in each of the following: US, Turkey, Egypt, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico.
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments, and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies, and we help 240,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
Sawyer Van Horn