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What are your children up to online?

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Children around the world spend most of their time online using communication tools such as social networks, email and chats (accounting for 67% of online activity).
According to a Kaspersky Lab report, gaming portals (11%) and web sites containing information about alcohol, narcotics and tobacco (9%) came second and third, respectively. At the same time, there is a noticeable difference between children’s interests in different countries.
In South Africa, the figures are as follows:
* Social networks (56%);
* Email (12%)
* Chats (6%);
* Gaming (9%); and
* Drugs (7%).
The report, covering 12 months, shows anonymised statistics from Kaspersky Lab solutions for Windows PCs and Macs with the Parental Control module switched on, and presents the share of visits or attempted visits to websites with potentially harmful content that fall under one of the 14 preset categories.
The statistics show that during the reporting period, children cut back on visits to communication media and adult-themed websites. This trend can be explained by children moving most of their sensitive activities to mobile devices, which were not covered in the report.
The “Internet communication media” category was most popular in Mexico (86%), Russia, Brazil and Italy (all slightly more than 70%). The least communicative during this period were children in China (30%), Germany (31%) and the UK (32%).
Interestingly, the less popular this category was in a country, the more popular the “computer games” category was. Children in the UK (28%), Germany (26%) and Australia (21%) are most likely to play online, while children from Mexico (4%), Italy (6%) and Japan (7%) do so less frequently.
When it comes to watching videos, listening to music and downloading software, kids in Japan are the clear leaders (12% of all parental control notifications). They are also more likely to shop online (17%), as are children and teenagers in China (20%).
The category “alcohol, tobacco and narcotics” racked up the most notifications in Germany (23%) and the UK (25%).
In its turn, adult content generated most interest among children in China (23%) and Japan (5%). This topic was of least interest in the UK and the US (both less than 1%).
“The popularity of certain types of websites among children in different countries can be linked to each country’s cultural traits and economic conditions,” says Anna Larkina, senior web content analyst at Kaspersky Lab. “We see that children are becoming more self-reliant online: they choose what music to listen to, what movies and cartoons to watch, and what software to install.
“This independence is great, but on the Web, as well as in real life, it is necessary to guide youngsters and teach them how to behave wisely, safely and responsibly.
“At Kaspersky Lab, we believe that to prevent encounters with harmful content, parents need to combine a comprehensive security solution with constant communication. Conversations educate young users about online threats and help to build trusting relationships in families, while security solutions provide a basis for such conversations and a safe environment for all the family.”

  • Nicholas Vörster

    One wonders whether this survey took into account that it is possible to play games on Facebook.