Teenagers using the web irresponsibly

McAfee study yields interesting results

Using the web can invite risks into the home believes Andrea van der Westhuizen, McAfee product manager at Workgroup.

“Teens are faced with severe online consequences as a result of online misadventures, including experiences with online predators, cyber-bullying, Web stalking, phishing and identity theft, pornography, videos of violence, crime, interactions with strangers and more,” she adds.

McAfee funded a recent survey, conducted by Harris Interactive to find out what teenagers were doing online and how aware their parents are of the activities.

“The statistics were quite shocking,” says Van der Westhuizen. “While 92 percent of the parents surveyed trust that their child is honest with them about their online behaviour, 72 percent of their children do not tell their parents about what they do online unless asked.

“According to the survey, 72 percent of these kids use the Internet to download or view media, including music, videos and adult content and 22 percent of them would not know what to do if they were harassed or bullied online.

When asked about their general attitude to online safety, 93 percent of the teenagers surveyed said they know how to be safe online. A positive step, one might think, but not when 43 percent of the teens questioned saying they would change their online behaviour if they knew their parents were watching and 67 percent admitting to knowing exactly how to hide what they do online from their parents.

“47 percent hit the minimise button on the PC screen at the sound of a parental step, 40 percent clear their browser history when they are finished, 18 percent have a private email address or a separate social networking site profile (7 percent) and 10 percent have unlocked the parental controls or disabled the filtering controls their parents enabled.”

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Teenagers using the web irresponsibly