CUPERTINO, Calif., Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704) today released the findings of its Global Consumer Technology Use and Security Study. Conducted across seven countries including Australia, Brazil, France, India, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S., the survey asked 1,419 parents on how their kids access the Internet and the steps they take to protect and educate them about staying safe online.
Overall, the survey revealed that even though parents around the world are concerned about technology's impact on their children, they welcome what this new paradigm can offer, allowing their kids the privileges of owning smartphones and using social networks at early ages. Understanding the risks, parents surveyed say they are taking an active role in providing guidance and oversight of their children's technology and Internet use.
Attitudes Toward Internet Safety
- Most parents are like-minded, sharing concerns about their children's increasing use of the Internet. Nevertheless, parents in some countries worry more than those in other countries. For example, 56 percent of U.K. parents surveyed believe the Internet is safe for kids compared to only 12 percent of parents in Japan. Japanese kids are also less likely to visit social networking sites – only 12 percent of the Japanese parents surveyed reported their kids have an account with social networking sites, compared to 63 percent of parents in Brazil.
- The majority (73 percent) of parents whose children have an account with social networking sites indicated their children's online privacy on social networking sites is important, particularly so in the U.S. (85 percent), the U.K. (83 percent) and Australia (81 percent).
- More than half of the parents whose children use social networking are worried about their children's privacy on these sites 'frequently' or 'all the time'. In Brazil, especially, one third of the parents worry about their children's privacy on social networking sites 'all the time'.
- Nearly half of parents surveyed say their kids have accounts with social networking sites (SNS) that require a minimum age of 13 but the average age of their kids who use these sites is 12.
- Children in Brazil are joining social networking sites at a younger age than most other countries, at an average age of 9.
- 76 percent of parents surveyed say they are friends with their kids on social networking sites and about two-thirds of them are monitoring their kids' SNS use at least once a week.
- More than half of parents (51 percent) surveyed believe their kids act responsibly on social networking sites. Of U.S. parents surveyed, 67 percent believe their child acts responsibly when it comes to sharing personal information.
Mobile Security and Smartphone Use
- While the survey asked parents about smartphones and their kids, far fewer of those surveyed had actually purchased such a device for their children.
- Globally, about 17 percent of parents have purchased a smartphone (as opposed to a feature phone) for their kids. This percentage is highest in Brazil at 27 percent and lowest in Japan at 5 percent.
- The average age of a child receiving a smartphone was 13.
- Globally, parents are not passive bystanders and are implementing household rules on smartphones: 86 percent surveyed have given their kids guidance on safe and responsible use of the phone. In Brazil, over 90 percent of parents who bought their child a smartphone indicated they have given their child guidance on how to use their phone appropriately.
- Globally, about 27 percent of parents surveyed indicated they would be likely to purchase a safety application for the smartphone that would help guide their kids to use it appropriately.
Larry Magid, founder of SafeKids.com
"Staying in touch with what your kids are doing online is an essential part of 21st century parenting and Trend Micro's survey has some good news about parents' involvement. For example, it's great to see that more than 3/4 of parents are 'friends' with their kids on social networking sites. I'm very pleased that Trend Micro's study pretty much confirms data from other recent studies that parents are not clueless when it comes to their kids' online activities."
Anne Collier, co-director of ConnectSafely.org
"The cultural differences in parents' attitudes toward technology and Net safety are fascinating, but what stands out in this important study is that – universally – parents increasingly understand that the best safeguard is their own engagement in their children's online as well as offline lives. And that is great news!"
Lynette Owens, director of Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids & Families
"This study is encouraging as it shows the level of engagement by parents around the world in their kids' use of technology. Consistent parental involvement is the first step toward responsible, tech-savvy kids. The next step is to make sure parents are getting the right facts and resources so they can, in turn, guide their kids."
Tips for Parents on Educating Their Kids
For parents who are not quite ready to tackle their children's use of technology, there are a few ways that they can get up to speed. Lynette Owens, director of Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids and Families (ISKF), has several tips for keeping kids safe online:
- Help your child stick to sites that are appropriate to their age.
- If applicable, make sure kids use strong passwords and the strongest privacy settings that still allow them flexibility.
- Ask them to share only information that is absolutely necessary on any site or online service, and to ask you if they are not sure.
- Advise them to connect with those they already know or are certain can be trusted.
- Urge them to treat others with respect and to never post or share anything they wouldn't mind being shared broadly.
- Teach them to be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true. Tell them to trust their instincts if something seems suspicious and tell you about it.
- Consider not allowing your child to use a geo-location service which automatically broadcasts their physical location to others, unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Always have up-to-date, reputable security software installed on every device you are using to connect to the Internet/social networking sites. Cybercriminals will, for the most part, be unable to harm you because good security software or service will know that the links/sites they are leading you to are malicious and won't let you visit them.
- To find additional tips on keeping kids safe online, visit Lynette Owens' Internet Safety blog.
- For the full survey presentation, please visit our media room:
About Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids & Families:
Founded in 2008, the mission of Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids & Families is to enable and empower kids, parents, teachers, and schools around the world to make the Internet a safe and secure place for today's youth. ISKF does this through a worldwide employee volunteer program, grants and donations to eligible organizations, strategic partnerships with organizations working to protect youth, educational programs, and a robust series of online tips and solutions for parents, educators, and youth. For ISKF's free Internet safety tips, tools and advice, visit: www.trendmicro.com/internetsafety
About Trend Micro:
Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cloud security, focuses on securing the exchange of digital information for businesses and consumers. A pioneer and industry vanguard, Trend Micro is advancing integrated threat management technology to protect operational continuity, personal information, and property from malware, spam, data leaks and the newest Web threats. Visit TrendWatch to learn more about the latest threats. Trend Micro's flexible solutions, available in multiple form factors, are supported 24/7 by threat intelligence experts around the globe. Many of these solutions are powered by the Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ cloud computing security infrastructure, a next-generation cloud-client innovation that combines sophisticated cloud-based reputation technology, feedback loops, and the expertise of TrendLabs(SM) researchers to deliver real-time protection from emerging threats. A transnational company, with headquarters in Tokyo, Trend Micro's trusted security solutions are sold through its business partners worldwide. Please visit Trend Micro.com
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