Did you suddenly find a virus on your laptop? If you’re a parent, it may have been your kid who downloaded it by accident. 3 in 10 computing devices in Singapore are compromised by their children’s actions, the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report found. It surveyed about 1,000 adults here last year, and for the first time, it asked about how participants’ kids behaved on the Internet.
The most common cyber-crime problem: downloading a virus onto the family’s computer, followed by responding to smishing messages when they click on a link in a text message. 12 per cent of kids have given out their passwords and an equal percentage have responded to an online or e-mail scam.
Another 12 per cent had online strangers ask to meet them in real life and 15 per cent had been bullied online.
The most worrying part of the report: 1 out of 3 parents do not take any precautions with their kids, and more than 3 in 5 parents don’t supervise their children’s online activities frequently.
“Children are becoming increasingly comfortable with devices like smartphones or tablets, and parents must be proactive in educating their children on online safety,” Gavin Lowth, Norton vice-president for consumer and small business in Asia-Pacific and Japan, told The Straits Times (ST).
“Protecting children online is weighing heavier on parents than ever before as cyber bullying, online predators and privacy are now real world concerns.”
The ST report also cited a rise in online crimes in Singapore, according to police statistics.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
Norton suggests these 3 tips:
Start the conversation with your children early Set aside time to discuss what you think is appropriate online behaviour and create age- appropriate “house rules” about how computers, smart phones and gaming systems are used. It is also important to be a positive role model for children and lead by example.
Educate them about dangers Create awareness about sexting, cyberbullying, online predators and privacy. And check to make sure they aren’t sharing private information like passwords, addresses and phone numbers with people they don’t know.
Have an online gatekeeper Check out parental control technologies that help you screen dangerous content and keep your kids away from dubious websites. They can also monitor where your children have been online. Read reviews of such software from Digital Trends and PC Advisor.
Young Parents offers more tips for safer web surfing here.