Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 19 May 2016 11:30

Children are the weakest link in online family security


Children are more likely to expose personally identifiable information to strangers online – which is understandable as they have not had time to grow old and cynical like their parents yet!

This can lead to at best tears, at worst dangerous liaisons, identity theft, and cyber bullying. In fact, there is now more cyber bullying that there is physical bullying!

Norton by Symantec has released findings from the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, (free report) revealing parents have great concerns about their children in the online world. Cyberbullying, online predators and privacy are some of the biggest issues with which parents are grappling.

The report found that 52% of Australian parents surveyed believed their children were more likely to be bullied online than on a playground and 48% worried their children would give out too much personal information to strangers. Additionally, 46% of Australian parents were concerned about their children being lured into meeting a stranger in the outside world and 41% feared that what their children would post today would come back to haunt them.

“In the last year, Norton has seen the online safety awareness levels of Australian parents increase rapidly as technology firmly cements itself in the family home,” said Mark Gorrie, director, Norton by Symantec, Pacific region. “Protecting children online is weighing heavier on parents than ever before as cyberbullying, online predators and privacy are now 'real' world concerns. While parents are taking some measures to keep their children safe online, more action is needed to ensure children are less vulnerable in the digital world.”

Children are the weakest link in the family’s online security

Nearly 90% of parents worry about their children’s safety online – and in particular, how their actions would have repercussions on the family. Globally, nearly half worry their children will do something online that will put the whole family at risk. To alleviate these concerns, more than two in three parents are taking measures to protect their children online such as

  • 49% limit the amount of information they post about their children on social networks
  • 45% of parents require computer use to take place in common areas in the home
  • 42% limit the amount of personal information children can post on their social network
  • 41% limit access to certain websites

Despite these measures, 20% of Australian parents have had a child’s actions compromise their online security. Most often children have downloaded a virus to a family PC.

Top Tips for Parents

There are actions parents can take to protect their children and keep their family safe online -

  • Have an open dialogue – It’s important to start the conversation with your children early and have an open dialogue. Set aside time to discuss appropriate online behaviour and create age-appropriate 'house rules' about how computers, smartphones, and gaming systems are used. It is also important to be a positive role model for children and lead by example.
  • Educate children – Spend some time educating children regularly about the dangers of the Internet and create awareness around issues such as sexting, cyberbullying, online predators and privacy. Check to make sure your children are not sharing private information like passwords, addresses and phone numbers with people they don’t know.
  • Explore technology – Consider free parental control technologies, such as Norton Family, that help to set and enforce the ground rules and can limit the sites that can be accessed and the type of information that can be shared online. To learn more about and start using Norton Family for free, click here.

About the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report

The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report is an online survey of 17,125 device users aged 18+ across 17 countries, commissioned by Norton by Symantec and produced by research firm Edelman Berland. The Australian sample reflects input from 1011 Australian device users aged 18+ who are parents.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!



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