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Study Finds Parents Unaware of Kids’ Online Behavior

A new study released by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education revealed that most parents of elementary and middle school students in the U.S. are not aware of the risks their kids are taking online. The Children’s Internet Usage Study compared the self-reported online behaviors of kids in grades 4-8 with their parents’ perceptions of their behavior.

The findings show that kids spend more time online and remain online much later during the school week than parents realize.  They visit sites their parents wouldn’t approve of and engage with strangers online and offline more frequently than their parents know – despite receiving instruction on the safe use of the Internet.
•    40 percent of kids surveyed said they connected with or chatted online with a stranger.
•    21 percent took the relationship a step further and spoke to a stranger by phone.
•    15 percent tried to meet with a stranger they first encountered online.
•    11 percent actually met a stranger in their home, the stranger’s home, a park, mall or restaurant — often accompanied by a friend.
•    30 percent reported texting a stranger from their phone.
•    25 percent revealed their phone numbers to a stranger.
•    6 percent revealed their home addresses.

“Though parents are teaching their kids about Internet safety, our study finds they are not always vigilant in their follow through,” said Patrick Craven, director of the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and parent.  “We’ve seen too many reports of young lives cut short or severely impacted and identities stolen as a result of unsafe online behaviors. With kids accessing the Internet from so many types of devices, parents need help to closely monitor their online activities and alert them to new threats.”

The Center is the global authority on Internet safety education.  It is the nonprofit, charitable foundation of (ISC)2, the sanctioning organization with over 110,000 members that certifies and educates information, cyber, software and infrastructure security professionals around the world. Since 2011, the Center has offered Safe and Secure Online, the leading free education program that teaches kids, parents, teachers and seniors around the world to protect themselves online. Certified security experts who are members of (ISC)2 recently updated the curriculum to better equip parents with the knowledge and tools required to protect children in all facets of cyber space, based on the new study’s findings. The free education program can be accessed in English at www.SafeAndSecureOnline.org.  The program materials are on track to be translated into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and other languages over the next several months.

Other key findings from the study include:
•    53 percent of kids who participated in the survey access the Internet for reasons other than homework seven days a week.
•    49 percent have been online at 11 p.m. or later on a school night.
•    33 percent have been online at midnight or later.
•    Late night weekday Internet use impacted schooling, with 37 percent of kids reporting they sometimes feel tired at school; 10 percent were late to school and 5 percent missed school because they were online too late.

 

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by http://safeandsecureonline.org/childrens-internet-study/

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