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62pc of parents ‘unaware of personal data online’

Dubai, March 3, 2010

Three in five parents (62 per cent) have no idea about what information is publicly available about themselves or their kids, says a recent survey.

A new survey released by Internet security firm Trend Micro also suggested that one in 16 parents admitted to finding information about their kids they did not know about.

Surveying over 500 parents and over 500 children aged 10-16 across the UK, the findings revealed an enormous lack of education when it comes to matters of online privacy, a statement said.

The findings also showed that 18 per cent parents are concerned about their children seeing inappropriate pictures online, while over a third of parents (35 per cent) believe they can be anonymous online.

Approximately one in eight parents (12 per cent) have no idea about where to go for advice concerning what is, and what is not, safe to put online, yet close to two thirds (64 per cent) of parents said they trusted themselves with what they shared online and where they shared it.

The survey also said that more than three quarters of parents (76 per cent) have revealed their email address online, a little under two third (60 per cent) have revealed their postal address (compared to only 14 per cent of kids), one in two adults (50 per cent) posted photographs of themselves online, while two in five (37 per cent) posted credit card details on sites.

Kids – ahead of the game?

When asked about the use of the Internet, almost half of the ten year olds surveyed (48 per cent), did not know what information they could and could not share online.

The findings also showed that one in ten kids (12 per cent) under 16 years old did not want their parents to discover pictures they have shared online, while kids as young as 11 admitted to posting inappropriate photos.

Three out of ten (31 per cent) of 14 year olds said they used their mobile phones to go online and two in ten 15 year olds regularly used their games console to go online, the survey said.

Forty-two per cent of kids admitted to sharing chats online (42 per cent) which they did not want their parents to see, while private chats and pictures of boyfriends/girlfriends also featured high on the ‘no go for parents’ list.

“Our daughter spends around 1.5 hours a day online as part of her homework research and uses her own email account to tell friends about her day at school,” said Maren Stuetzer, secondary school teacher and parent to 10-year-old daughter Hannah.

“While we have access to her email account and can have frank conversations with her, she’s bound to be less open as she grows into a teenager, which concerns me. We are also unsure as to how we can keep an eye on her once she starts using her mobile to go online. Five years ago, we got her the mobile on a pay as you go card but I see kids increasingly using their phones to surf online,” she added.

“The results seem to reflect that there may be a digital fracture in our modern families with online lives getting in the way of traditional heart to hearts and good parenting” said Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro.

“It’s time parents faced up to the consequences of their online activities,” he added.

“Their children are digital natives who have grown up connected and these results seem to indicate that parents could certainly learn a thing or two from their kids.”

“People need to realise that they are far from anonymous on the Internet and personal information of any kind is a valuable commodity for online criminals,” Ferguson continued.

“Posting information such as photos, contact details, credit card details, addresses and telephone numbers, puts adults and children alike at risk of identity theft and also at risk of inappropriate contact from predators.”

“The first step to managing your online footprint is to discover what is out there, go and Google yourself you might just find something that surprises you,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Dubai | Internet | Kids | Trend Micro | Survey | Parents |

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