Recently, the Center for Cyber Safety and EducationTM released the results of the Children’s Internet Usage Study. The study contrasted the self-reported online behaviors of U.S. kids in grades 4-8 with their parents’ perceptions of their behavior. The findings were surprising and could be a cause for concern for many parents, as it shows that children are spending more time online, including late into the evenings, than their parents were aware. The children indicated they visit sites they know they are not supposed to, and engage with strangers despite warnings from parents. A few of the survey results are below:
- 40 percent said they connected with or chatted online with a stranger.
- 30 percent texted a stranger from their phone.
- 21 percent spoke to a stranger by phone.
- 15 percent tried to meet with a stranger they first encountered online.
- 11 percent met a stranger.
- 6 percent revealed their home address.
- 53 percent access the Internet for reasons other than homework seven days a week.
- 49 percent have been online at 11 p.m. or later on a school night.
- 33 percent have been online at midnight or later.
David Shearer, CEO of (ISC)² and the Center for Cyber Safety and Education said, “We are grateful to Booz Allen Hamilton, a valued partner over the years, for supporting this important initiative to raise parents’ awareness about the types of risky activities their children are engaging in online. Concerning findings such as these only reinforce the need for educational programs like Safe and Secure Online to help parents play an active role in preventing risks.”
In response to the survey results, the Center updated their Safe and Secure Online program, a leading free education program that teaches families and educators how to be safer online. Certified security expert members of (ISC)² contribute to the development of the program and all members are encouraged to share this information with their families and community. The free education program can be accessed in English at http://www.SafeAndSecureOnline.org. The program materials will be translated into other languages (Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and more) throughout the next few months.
In the U.S., April 28 is ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’ when children accompany their parents to the workplace. The (ISC)² headquarters office will be educating young visitors on how to stay safe online in hopes that children will become more cautious in the future and treat online strangers like they would real-world strangers.