Kids, Teens Take Sneaky Steps to Avoid 'Cyberparents' - eMarketer

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Kids, Teens Take Sneaky Steps to Avoid 'Cyberparents'

However, most are well aware of cybersecurity's importance

June 25, 2015

eMarketer estimates that there will be 48.8 million US internet users ages 0 to 17 this year, representing 66.3% of the child/teen population. As these younger consumers spend more time online, today’s mothers and fathers are tasked with a new responsibility: “cyberparenting.” In May 2015, Intel surveyed more than 1,000 children and teens ages 8 to 16 and over 1,000 parents in the US and found that 94% of parent internet users believed they knew what their children were doing online.

US Parent Internet Users Who Know the Passwords* of Their Child/Teen, by Device, May 2015 (% of respondents)

Nearly three-quarters of parents knew the passwords of their child or teen. However, a breakdown showed that this skewed heavily toward laptops, as 87.5% of parents cited such devices. Beyond that, the percentage dropped below 50%, with 47.2% aware of desktop passwords. Just over three in 10 knew tablet passwords, and only 18.1% were aware of smartphone passwords—worrisome, considering that 58% of 8-to-16-year-old mobile device users reported spending 2 or more hours with such devices daily. For all four devices, usage stood at 55% or more.

Even if their parents know their passwords, children and teens still find ways to hide their digital activities, as 51% reported taking some kind of action to hide their online behavior from cyberparents. The most popular action was clearing browser history, cited by 26%, while one-quarter deleted messages. Nearly one-fifth minimized browsers when an adult walked into the room, and 17% dropped desktops and laptops and relied on mobile devices instead—devices for which, again, parents were least likely to know the passwords.

Actions Taken by US Child/Teen Internet Users to Hide Online Behavior from Their Parents, May 2015 (% of respondents)

What’s the point? Children and teens were most likely to just not want parents seeing their interactions with friends, at 46% of respondents. Fully 31% didn’t want parents knowing the time of day they were online, and 21% wanted to hide people they hung out with.

They may be hiding from their parents, but children and teens were still aware of the importance of cybersecurity. Fully 83% were concerned about the privacy of their personal information. Nearly eight in 10 children and teens were learning about online safety from their parents—in line with the 89% of parents who said it was important that their children received online safety or cybersecurity training on how to protect personal info.

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