New survey sheds light on how parents, children view cyber interactions and safety issues

cyber-internetA large majority of parents in a recent national survey said their children should receive online safety or cyber security training in the next 2-5 years to keep their personal information secure.

Eighty-nine percent of surveyed parents said such training is important or very important. Children in the survey said they learn about online safety from their parents (79 percent), in school (59 percent), or from friends (33 percent).

The most popular social media risks discussed with children, as reported in the survey, are cyberbullying (80 percent), cyber criminals and identity theft (73 percent), online reputation (70 percent) and privacy settings (69 percent).

Next page: More data from the survey

The study, “The Realities of Cyber Parenting: What Pre-teens and Teens Are Up To Online,” examines the online behaviors and social networking habits of 1,000 American pre-teens and teens ages 8 to 16. The study, released by The Family Online Safety Institute partnered with Intel Security, also surveyed the concerns of parents.

When it comes to online activity, surveyed parents are most concerned (28 percent) about their children unknowingly interacting with predators/pedophiles, while 21 percent surveyed said they worry about them interacting with strangers in general. Twenty-seven percent of teen/pre-teen respondents said they would meet or have met someone in person they first met online.

“Parents must have frequent and open conversations with their children about their online behavior as well as its risks and rewards,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security. “This type of transparent communication may help build stronger trust between parents and children; hopefully this will encourage children to share more information about their online interactions, and, in turn, alert their parents when they encounter any suspicious activity or conversations online.”

Of the parents surveyed who use social media, about 84 percent follow or are connected with their children, hoping to gain access to their interactions with followers and the information they post. Ninety-four percent of surveyed parents said they believe they know what their children are doing online.

The most-used social apps include Facebook (50 percent), YouTube (40 percent), Instagram (20 percent), Twitter (16 percent), Snapchat (13 percent), and WhatsApp (11 percent).

While parents’ concerns about cyberbullying are not as high as they are regarding predators, 35 percent of surveyed youth indicate that they have bullied people on social media. Of those surveyed who have bullied others, 61 percent state it was because the person was mean to them, while 26 percent indicated it was because they did not like the person.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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