Norton by Symantec released its parenting data from its 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report (NCSIR) published last month. Through a survey of Australians parents across the country, this research reveals the chief concerns of Australian parents when it comes to their child and how they behave online.
“Cyberbullying can be a sensitive subject, and the conversations around online security are often thrown into the ‘too hard’ basket,” said Melissa Dempsey, Senior Director of Symantec’s Norton Business Unit in Asia Pacific and Japan.
“But these are important discussions for parents to have with their children to help ensure the child’s security and well-being, the same way we as parents have conversations around homework, diet and sleep schedules.”
Cyberbullying is not the only online threat
In addition to cyberbullying, 2017 saw a huge spike in children’s online safety concerns reported by Australian parents, including:
88% spending too much time in front of a screen
85% have downloaded a malicious program/virus
82% have given out too much personal information to strangers
76% have posted something that will come back to haunt them in the future
74% are concerned about being lured into meeting a stranger
Online parental supervision still lacking
Despite growing concerns, parental supervision of children online is still not common practice, and the level of preventative measures put in place to protect children and family-owned devices has decreased from 2016. In fact, less than a quarter of Australian parents reported always supervising their children online. While, 47% always supervise their children while online shopping and 36% during video communication, only 26% report always supervising their children when using social media, and 29% when checking or writing emails.
37% of parents only allow access to certain content and websites
23% allow Internet access only with parental supervision
26% review or approve all apps before downloading
32% check their child’s browser history
25% limit the amount of information their child can post on their social profiles
24% set parental controls through the home router
32% require computer use to take place in common areas
Spotting the signs of cyberbullying
While more Australian parents are wary of online harassment and bullying than ever before, few have the information they need to recognise the signs. Feelings of embarrassment or fear mean children who fall to cyberbullying are often hesitant to come forward, placing the onus on parents to take action.
To help parents, teachers and guardians spot the signs, here are a few examples that indicate cyberbullying of a child:
They appear nervous when receiving a text/online message or email
Their habits with devices change.
They may begin avoiding their devices or using them excessively
They make excuses to avoid going to school
They become defensive or secretive about online activity
They withdraw from friends and family
They have physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, stomach aches, headaches, and weight loss or gain
They begin falling behind in school or acting out
Their grades start declining
They appear especially angry, frustrated or sad, particularly after going online/checking devices
They delete social media or email accounts
Dealing with cyberbullying
The best way to respond to cyberbullying is to proactively encourage and maintain an open dialogue about the issue. Through constant conversation, children are more likely to confide their feelings with parents as this is an empathetic way of dealing with it. Another way to counter cyberbullying is to establish house rules and guidelines on online etiquettes, such as using strong passwords and installing security software such as Norton Security Premium.