Kiwi parents 'in the dark' about their kids' online activities - survey

Nearly three quarters of New Zealand parents are oblivious to their children's online activities and are avoiding crucial conversations about their kids' internet privacy and security practices, according to a new survey.

Source: 1 NEWS

The survey of more than 600 parents by internet security company Norton by Symantec reveals 74 per cent of parents are in the dark about their kids' online activities 

The survey also shows many parents are disconnected from their children's online world and are not engaging with them about internet practices that can harm them. For example, 48 per cent of Kiwi parents surveyed never check their children's online activities and 52 per cent never discuss cyberbullying. 

One in five New Zealand parents admitted their young children had joined a social networking account even when the rules stated they must be over a certain age before joining. 

Alarmingly, eight per cent of New Zealand parents surveyed had been warned about their child's social media activities by their school, and some 10 per cent of parents had admitted to having at least one child impacted by cyber bullying, but more than a quarter of parents didn't even know if their children have been cyber bullied. 

Mark Shaw, Technology Strategist for Symantec Pacific region, says children are interacting online via websites, apps, games and online forums at a younger age and more than ever, but it's impossible for parents to watch over their kids every second they're online. 

"Parents need to arm their children with the knowledge and skills they need to use the Internet positively without compromising their privacy and security or that of their friends," Mr Shaw says.

He says while parents are concerned about what their children may be exposed to online, many are not doing enough to help keep their children safe. 

"We talk to our children about keeping safe in the physical world - whether it's road safety, stranger danger or safe sex education. We need to be having the same conversations about keeping safe in the online world."

He says being always connected means "unpleasant online exchanges can happen 24/7, escalate rapidly, and gain wide visibility, making them all the more damaging for children".