As a parent you have many fears. You worry if your kids will get hurt, if they will have friends, good grades, the list goes on. A new study by Intel Security indicates that as far as the Internet is concerned, parents are most concerned about their kids online interacting with a child predator.
The study takes a look at the online behaviors and social networking habits of American pre-teens and teens ages 8 to 16; it also surveyed the concerns of parents.
Parents biggest fear, the study found, is that their kids will interact unknowingly with a pedophile or a predator. That fear is warranted, as 27% of teens or preteens who took part in the survey said they would meet or had already met someone in person that they first met online.
Parents have known this for ages but don't always like to admit it: You don't always really know what your kids are doing. You might think you know, but in reality kids have a way of eluding you. Parents keep trying though. The study found that 84% of parents follow or are connected with their children, hoping to gain access to their interactions with followers and the information they post.
Kids are pretty clever, though. The study showed that children readily share password information with their friends and then use that information to do high-tech spying on them to see if that person is talking to an ex, for example. They use the info to look at personal photos and just dig up things that could have the potential to be used against that person.
When you look at the stats it appears that pre-teens and teens aren’t the nicest group of people. A great deal of them indicate that they have bullied people on social media. Of those who have bullied others, 61% said it was because the person was mean to them, while many indicated it was because they just did not like the person.
Although the parents' greatest fear was the thought of a pedophile or predator enticing their children, parents really had no qualms about their children being friends with other adults on social media. Of this group, 93% of parents approve if the person is a relative or someone they know, and 56% of parents would permit their children to be friends with a teacher.
What to do
How can you gain some control over your teen’s online activity?
“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.”