Nearly 3 in 10 Singaporean parents have had their online security compromised because of their children: Study

lead image

Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report reveals children are the weakest link in family cybersecurity

Today (2 March), Norton by Symantec released findings from the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, highlighting local parental concerns about their children in the online world.

Cyberbullying, online predators and privacy are some of the biggest issues parents in Singapore are grappling with as bullying moves from the playground to the online world.

The report found that 52 percent of Millennial parents (18 – 34 years old) in Singapore surveyed believe their children are more likely to be bullied online than on a playground and 56 percent worry their children will give out too much personal information to strangers.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 4.11.14 pm

Additionally, parents are concerned about their children being lured into meeting a stranger in the outside world (52 percent) and more parents are worried that their children will be bullied online (46 percent) than if their children take on the role as the online bully (38 percent).

“Children are becoming increasingly comfortable with technology devices like smartphones or tablets, and parents must be proactive in educating their children on online safety.

“Protecting children online is weighing heavier on parents than ever before as cyberbullying, online predators and privacy are now “real” world concerns,” said Gavin Lowth, Vice President, Norton Consumer and Small Business, Asia Pacific and Japan.

Children and teens are seen as a source of vulnerability

Nearly all parents surveyed (90 percent) worry about their children’s safety online – and in particular, how their actions will have repercussions on the family. Nearly half (49 percent) of parents in Singapore worry their children will do something online that will put their whole family at risk.

Most importantly, nearly 3 in 10 parents (28 percent) have had their online security compromised by children’s actions. To alleviate these concerns, more than three in ten parents are taking measures to protect their children online –  

  • Almost 2 in 5 parents (39 percent) limit the amount of information they post about their children on social networks
  • 36 percent of the surveyed parents require computer use to take place in common areas in the home
  • 35 percent only allow Internet access with parental supervision
  • 35 percent limit access to certain websites

Despite these measures, one in three parents in Singapore have had a child’s actions compromise their online security. Most often children have downloaded a virus to family PC.

 

cyberbullying

Mr Gavin Lowth shared parenting tips to better improve online privacy and security during the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report media briefing. Photo: Hamizah Salikimen

Cyberbullying needs to be addressed

Being a father to a 7 year old and 10 year old daughter himself, Mr Lowth felt that awareness and communication is the main key takeaway in improving online security.

He said: “I think the big portion of cyber security is awareness and allowing your kids to understand the ramifications of either bullying or being bullied. I think that this needs to be well understood.”

He also recommends parents to advice their children to be more vocal about it. He said: I always say to my kids to raise it with parents, teachers and potentially law enforcement officers as well – because I think they play a very important role in the effects of cyberbullying.”

How to protect your children and keep your family safe online

Fathers are more likely to take action

According to the insight, 50 percent of fathers are likely to report that their child has been a victim of cyberbullying as compared to 42 percent of mothers. It was also reported that Gen X parents are more successful in protecting their children against the dangers online.

How to protect your children and keep their family safe online:

#1 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, smart phones and gaming systems are used. It is also important to be a positive role model for children and lead by example.

#2 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.

#3 Explore technology

With a generational shift, technology usage is very much apparent in our child’s lives. Parents can 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.

What if my child uses an incognito browser?

There are ways to get around the technical system. Home routers do have certain settings. However even with that, the biggest help of all is still educating and conversing early with your kids. Explain to them that you aren’t necessarily being snoopy when checking their text messages – all you want is for them to feel safe.

What are your thoughts on cyberbullying and online security? Share with us below!