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Monday, 28 July 2014 12:18

Study confirms kids are being sneaky online

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Most young Aussie kids are hiding their online activities from their parents, with some making fake profiles or blocked their search history according to new research.

A whopping 70% of children aged between 8 and 17 said their parents didn't know about all their web activities, according to a survey of 1000 young Australians conducted by cyber security firm McAfee, owned by Intel.

The same number admitted to hiding what they did online, while nearly half said they cleared their browser or used private browsing.

A third of the teens and tweens admitted hiding or deleting files, while one in 10 kids created fake social media accounts to fool their parents.

According to the research, YouTube is the number one social site across all age groups, with Facebook the most likely to be visited daily.

In 2013, Skype was the most popular social website among tweens, but new social media sites, such as Keek, a video-based social networking site, and Yik Yak, an anonymous messaging app, have gained quick acceptance across all age groups.

Facebook has seen a spike in underage users, with 31% of 8-9 year olds and 60%  of 10-12 year olds admitting to having a Facebook profile, despite the legal age being 13 years old.

This marks a big increase from 2013, where 26% of tweens were using Facebook.

Melanie Duca, APAC Consumer Marketing Director, McAfee, part of Intel Security says,“Teens and tweens are very comfortable operating in the online world, yet the risks have never been greater.

Young people are often the pioneers for new technologies so they need to understand the consequences of their online behaviour.”

The survey also revealed that 40 per cent of teens and tweens are experiencing cyberbullying.

“For the second year running, we have uncovered findings about how vulnerable our young people are online. While the figures on cyberbullying are confronting, we know that continued efforts to educate on cyber safety, cyber security and responsible online behaviour among this audience iscritical,” Duca said.

McAfee provided iTWire with its top 5 Tips for parents to help educate their kids:

1. Connect with your kids. Talk to them about the risks of being online and make sure the communication lines are always open.

2. Learn their technology. Stay one step ahead and take the time to research the various devices your kids use. You want to know more about their devices than they do.

3. Get social. Stay knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks. Join whatever networks or sites your kids are into so you understand how it all works.

4. Reputation management. Make sure your kids are aware that anything they post online is permanent.

5. Stay calm. If your kids come to you with an online problem, it’s important not to overreact. Deal with it calmly and don’t threaten to take devices away, or they may not feel confident about seeking your help again.

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