Despite almost half (47%) of parents in South Africa believing that the threats facing their children online are increasing – from cyberbullying to inappropriate content – not much more than a third (38%) guides their children by talking to them about the potential threats, reveals new research from Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.
The survey found that every fifth adult (24%) does nothing to protect their kids from Internet threats, despite the fact that a similar proportion (26%) has seen their children encounter actual threats online, including viewing inappropriate content, stumbling across dangerous strangers and cyberbullying. 41% of parents in South Africa also fear that the Internet is affecting their kids’ health or wellbeing in some way.
With 28% of parents feeling they have no control over what their children see or do online, nearly two thirds (62%) of them don’t bother to talk to their kids about Internet threats. Where action is taken, it is focused on things that can be largely ineffective: e.g., 35% say they check their kids’ browsing history, although by that stage much of the damage could already have been done. Only a quarter (27%) have installed parental control software.
“For many young people today, using mobile phones and computers to go online, often out of sight of their parents or while out and about, has become an integral part of daily life. Our study suggests that a significant number of parents feel powerless about managing what happens on these devices. However, there are many simple yet positive things parents can do to protect the young people in their care. The important thing is to combine practical measures, such as installing parental control software and keeping computers in family areas, with talking to our children about potential threats and how to deal with them,” says David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.