Redwood City, Calif. — October 7, 2020 — Avast (LSE:AVST), a global leader in digital security and privacy products, today reveals that nearly one third of children under the age of 12 in the US (32%) have admitted to having bad online experiences during lockdown.
Of this group, 78% of children said they had received unkind messages; 73% had received unsolicited and inappropriate content; and 76% had received unwanted contact from a stranger. Another 71% had accidentally downloaded a computer virus and 76% had received an unkind video call.
Despite the fact that 47% of parents say they are now having more open conversations about online safety, almost nine out of ten children (89%) said they didn’t have the confidence to tell their parents. Among the reasons children gave for not seeking help were: they felt scared (13%), embarrassed (11%), or didn’t want a friend to get into trouble (8%). A further 11% said they didn’t want to lose access to their smartphone, tablet or laptop as a consequence, while the same number (11%) didn’t recognize the incident or content as harmful.
Nick Viney, SVP & GM, Avast Partner BU said, “Encouraging children to be digitally adept from a young age is critical, and that includes learning safe online behaviors. With a few simple strategies in place, we believe parents can encourage a positive online experience for their children in a safe and secure way.
“Parents should maintain an open conversation with their children and check in on their digital activities as they would ask about a day at school, and engage with them to understand the activities they regularly enjoy online like content, games and social networks. Balance parental concern with teaching proper online habits, smart choices, and continued family communication.”
In order to encourage conversations with children about the experiences they’re having online, Avast suggests three top tips:
Findings represent insights shared by 2,000 respondents Avast surveyed throughout the US during June 2020.