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article imageStudy - Increase in strangers trying to meet kids offline

By Kim I. Hartman     Jun 17, 2010 in Internet
Kids Worldwide Speak Out on CyberSafety -Not All Fun and Games Online. A new report found 6 of 10 kids continue to have negative online experiences from cam exposure, nudity, violence and having strangers befriend them trying to meet them in real life.
Kids around the globe are growing up in an online world, learning to navigate not just the Web, but new rules, new laws, their emotions and unfortunately, some negative experiences and they say it is not all fun and games online.
Among the kids surveyed those that had problems online, half blamed themselves for making bad decisions and felt some responsibility. More then half said they would tell their parents if they had a negative experience such as being threatened online with physical harm in real life , they saw something suspicious or inappropriate online like pornography, other horrible images or websites, if they had an email or a pop up offering you a big prize or asking them to send money; someone was threatening or black-mailing them online; or their social networking account was hijacked or hacked.
Twenty percent of teens surveyed said their parents had no idea what they were doing online and with who and did not track their Internet activity.
The Norton Online Family Report which was just released says parents to need to more involved in their kids' online lives, if they're not already - especially with kids spending an average of 10 percent more time online per month than last year.
Over the past three years, Norton has examined the gaps between parents and kids with respect to their online beliefs and behaviors. With this year's report, Norton also looked at the emotional impact of online experiences on kids and their online codes of conduct.
Norton surveyed 2,800 kids and more than 7,000 adults in fourteen countries about their online lives and experiences. The resulting study, the Norton Online Family Report, was conducted by research company StrategyOne and examines kids' actual online experiences compared with parents' assumptions - with some surprising results.
According to NetFamilyNews Editor and ConnectSafely Co-Director Anne Collier, who collaborated with Norton on the study:
"This report provides a rare glimpse into the online lives of young people in 14 different countries - in their own words. Not only does it send a clear message that the online safety and security issues around parenting are universal, it offers insights and information that can empower parents worldwide to help kids use the Internet safely and keep family communication about technology open and ongoing - the number-one Net-safety best practice at home, school, and everywhere."
In 2008, Norton found that kids reported spending nearly ten times as much time online as parents realized. In 2009, the gap shrunk to kids reporting being online twice as much as parents realized. This year, kids and parents are fully in sync about the about of time kids spend online - closing one major gap.
While parents are generally aware of the activities kids participate in online, they underestimate the extent to which kids download music and videos, activities in which kids may be exposed to inappropriate content and encouraged to disclose personal details. Only 45 percent of parents realized their kids are having negative experiences.
Suprisingly kids responded by saying they actually want more parental involvement in their online lives. In addition to relying on their parents if something bad happened online, nearly nine in 10 report they follow family rules for Internet use. In addition, most kids say they have online manners: nearly seven in 10 say they don't bully and aren't mean to others online, over six in 10 say they don't harass or stalk others online, and nearly six in 10 refrain from passing on embarrassing photos or posts about others. More than half wouldn't do or say anything online that they wouldn't do or say off-line.
While kids are aware of many common sense rules for staying safe online, the old rules are not enough to keep up with the fast-changing online world. In addition to talking to kids, keeping security software up to date and using tools specifically designed for kids' safety, parents can improve kids' online experiences with new tips that combine technology and communication.
The report provided some suggestions which include
-- Prepare your kids for good or bad experiences online - don't wait
until after something happens.
-- Highlight the importance of thinking before clicking and downloading.
-- To protect against malicious links on social networks, use a free tool
such as the Norton Safe Web scanner application for Facebook, which
uses site rating technology to scan members' news feeds.
-- Use a search advisor to help identify if a website is safe versus
-- Let your kids know that what happens to them online is a shared
responsibility - children cannot take all of the responsibility for
what happens to them online.
Kids are feeling the powerful emotional impact of these negative online experiences. Children are most likely to feel angry (39 percent), upset (36 percent), afraid (34 percent) and fearful/worried (34 percent) as a result of such an incident. One-fifth of kids worldwide regret something they've done online. Further, kids feel some personal responsibility for these negative experiences, especially downloading a virus or being scammed says the report.
The report said: Negative online experiences included: downloading a virus; responding to online scams; having someone they don't know online try to meet them in the real world, having someone try to get them to do something online they thought was wrong; seeing violent and nude images; receiving "sexts" of someone they know; being bullied via mobile; being bullied via computer; or receiving "sexts" of someone they don't know.
More about Cyber, Safety, Norton, Symantec, Kids
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