Recent research from Norton by Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) reveals that more than eight in ten parents (86 percent) are concerned about their children’s safety on the internet. More than half worry their children will be bullied or harassed (57 percent) or will be lured away by a stranger (60 percent), and three in four parents believe children today are more exposed to online dangers than children five years ago.
According to the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, a survey of nearly 21,000 consumers globally, nearly half (48 percent) of parents believe their children are more likely to be bullied online than at school in the playground.
In addition to cyberbullying, parents’ chief concerns are that their children might:
- Download malicious programs or apps (66 percent)
- Disclose too much personal information to strangers (65 percent)
- Say or doing something online that makes the whole family vulnerable (54 percent)
- Post something that will haunt them in the future with job or university prospects (51 percent)
However, despite such concerns, one-quarter of parents allow early access to the Internet (before a child is six years old). And while the majority of parents implement proactive measures to keep their children safe online, such as limiting access to certain websites and apps (43 percent) or allowing Internet access only under parental supervision (40 percent),more than 1 in 10 (11 percent) do nothing. According to the survey, German and French parents are more likely to restrict access to the Internet, with 20 percent of all German parents and 17 percent of French parents forbidding Internet access, compared to Swedish (9 percent) and British (7 percent) parents.
“Parents play a critical role in educating their children on the boundaries for acceptable and safe internet behaviours. An open dialogue about online experiences is the first step in protecting children online,” said Nick Shaw, vice president, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec. “The internet is a valuable resource for children’s development, and our children today don’t know a world without it. Preventing children from going online is not necessarily the answer, we encourage parents to establish house rules on internet usage based on their age and talk to their children about their online experiences.”
Talking about online etiquette, online boundaries, safe internet habits, online experiences and cyberbullying doesn’t have to be challenging. This year, as part of Safer Internet Day, Norton wants to help parents identify the signs of cyberbullying, empower them to start a conversation with their children and establish “netiquette” when the time is right.
Some notable signs of cyberbullying amongst children include:
- Appearing nervous when receiving a text/online message or email or begin avoiding their devices or using them excessively
- Making excuses to avoid going to school, grades beginning to decline or acting up
- Becoming defensive or secretive about online activity or delete social media accounts
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, stomach aches, headaches, and weight loss or gain
- Appearing particularly angry, frustrated or sad, especially after going online/checking devices
Tips on how parents can keep their children safe online:
- Establish a set of guidelines for how your children use technology, also known as online etiquette. These guidelines may include how much time can be spent online, which websites are safe to use or what language is appropriate when chatting.
- Create a set of House Rules for children’s online communication, downloading, websites that are safe to visit, and cyber harassment. A decrease in negative online experiences is closely linked to households where there is an open dialogue with children about online safety.
- Teach young children to use strong and unique passwords across all their accounts and never to share passwords, even with their friends.
- Discuss the risks of posting and sharing private information, videos, and photographs, especially on social media websites – everything posted online is a digital footprint for children and can be challenging to completely erase. Parents should help ensure their children are not posting content that will compromise their security or which they may regret when they are older.
- Children are likely to imitate their parents’ behaviour, so parents are encouraged to lead by example and show their children how to safely surf online
- Encourage kids to think before they click; whether they’re looking at online video sites, receiving an unknown link in an email or even browsing the web and seeing banners or pop-ups, remind your children not to click links which may take them to dangerous or inappropriate sites. Clicking unknown links is a common way devices are infected with malware and also can reveal private and valuable information to criminals.
- Use a robust and trusted security software solution, such as Norton Security, for all household devices – from tablets to smartphones, laptops and desktops.
- Most importantly, encourage and maintain an open and ongoing dialogue with your children on Internet use and experiences.
To learn more about cyberbullying signs and tips to start an open conversation that is easier for both parents and children, visit https://uk.norton.com/cyberbullying
About the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report
The Norton Cyber Security Insights Report is an online survey of 20,907 device users ages 18+ across 21 markets, commissioned by Norton by Symantec and produced by independent research firm Edelman Intelligence. The margin of error for the total global sample is +/-0.68%.
Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC), the world’s leading cyber security company, helps organizations, governments and people secure their most important data wherever it lives. Organizations across the world look to Symantec for strategic, integrated solutions to defend against sophisticated attacks across endpoints, cloud and infrastructure. Likewise, a global community of more than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton suite of products for protection at home and across all of their devices. Symantec operates one of the world’s largest civilian cyber intelligence networks, allowing it to see and protect against the most advanced threats. For additional information, please visitwww.symantec.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.