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Study: 76% of parents worried about online safety

A new report from PCMag finds that the majority US parents have major concerns over potential online threats to their kids.
August 14, 2018

According to a new survey by US-based PCMag, 76% of parents have some level of concern for children’s online safety, and 51% are harboring significant or major anxiety about it.

After recently surveying 2,500 US consumers for its 2018 Consumer Cybersecurity Trends report, PCMag found that 24% of┬árespondents had no concerns for their child’s online safety, while 25%┬áreported having only minor concerns.

Meanwhile, 24% have significant concerns about potential online dangers and 27% are majorly worried.

The survey also examined how informed consumers are about cyber-security and found that 36% were never properly educated on the subject. Despite the┬árespondents’ lack of cyber-security knowledge, the study also revealed that the majority of them remain confident in their ability to stop cyber-attacks. Fifty-two percent said they think they know how to prevent and thwart attacks such as malware, card fraud and ransomware, while 69% consider themselves at least somewhat knowledgeable about the risks.

As for what measures respondents are taking to protect themselves online, 53% use anti-virus software and 37% enable privacy and security settings on social media, but just 29% said they regularly install computer system updates. A quarter of the respondents also said they have experienced a cybersecurity attack in the past.

The survey comes as more global tech services—particularly those aimed at kids online including Facebook Messenger Kids and YouTube Kids—are being forced to update their terms of service around data protection and privacy regulations to meet people’s growing demands for better transparency and safer online spaces for children.

In an effort to improve the situation, Canada’s Shaw Rocket Fund is set to launch its new Rocket Online Safety Program next month in partnership with indie safety certification service kidSAFE Seal. The kids digital safety program aims to help Canadian producers create safe environments for kids within digital platforms and experiences including social networks, virtual worlds, educational services, online game sites, mobile apps, tablet devices and connected toys. The program will ensure that any Canadian digital content that receives a Rocket Fund investment will be kidSAFE seal certified, and Rocket Fund will also provide up to 75% of funding assistance for digital certifications required outside of Canada such as the EU’s GDPR regulations or the US’s COPPA legislation.

UK-based SuperAwesome, meanwhile, recently launched a new PopJam video player as an alternative to YouTube. Its designed for kids and family publishers in a zero-data environment that’s COPPA- and GDPR-K-compliant so no personal data about children will be collected.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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