Internet safety is an issue that should concern anyone who uses the internet for pleasure or business. In the event that you have children in your house who use the internet, safety is a different concern. There are many predators on the internet who will take advantage of your lack of security and knowledge of how to keep your system and family secure from their advances. Discover the most updated Internet Safety Statistics here!
With the advent of social media, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and identity theft have become easier for individuals whose purpose is to defraud and do harm to you and your loved ones. It has also become a venue for the internet bully who hides behind the keyboard creating havoc. However, there are steps that can be taken to prevent these criminal intrusions into the internet world of your children.
What internet safety statistics are bringing to light is the vulnerability of our teenagers and children when using the internet, as well as their other devices such as smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles that can connect to the internet. Your children are but one wrong keystroke away from pornography sites or messaging with adults who are passing themselves off as one of your children’s peers. These types of intrusions into your children’s lives have become more prevalent in recent years. Being aware of internet security issues is your first line of defence in keeping them and yourself safe while enjoying all that the internet has to offer.
- Seventy-three percent of teens between twelve and seventeen have social network profiles. (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and other social sites)
- Twenty-five percent of young people pretend that they are older than they are to get an online account
- Five percent of teens have admitted to arranging a secret meeting with someone that they have met online
- Almost twenty-nine percent of parents allow their children to use the internet with no supervision or restrictions
- Ninety-three percent of teenagers use the internet to go online with 80% going online at least once a week
- Teens who use texting between the ages of twelve and seventeen, send and received an average of 1,500 messages per month
- One out of three teens between twelve and seventeen have experienced cyberbullying or online harassment with girls being the most likely victims of this form of abuse
- Ninety-seven percent of teens play online games on their computers, smartphones, and portable and console games. Some of these games are in an online open environment, where predators tend to lurk looking for victims
- One of twenty-five teens have received online sexual solicitations with the offender seeking to make contact with them offline
This is scary stuff. As you can see, there are many areas of the internet where predators can take advantage of your child’s innocence. Many of these predators seek out youth who have low self-esteem and are vulnerable to seduction. Many of these children have already been victims of sexual or physical abuse and will talk with strangers online about sex.
Teens who are struggling with their own personal issues of sexuality are particularly vulnerable to predators with 25% of the victims being male. Almost, but not all of the ones seeking the vulnerability of teens are male. In addition, in more than 27% of these incidents teens are solicited for nude pictures of themselves.
Sexting is also a practice that has been engaged in by 4% of teens who use cell phones and they claim that they have sent nude, semi-nude, and sexually suggestive messages to others using text messages. Fifteen percent of teens say that they have been recipients of this type of material in their text messages.
Teens and children today spend a lot of time on the internet and the time spent there increases with the age of the child. Children aged from three to four years old spend 6.5 hours per week on the internet. Five to seven-year-olds spend 9.2 hours a week there, eight to eleven-year-olds spend seventeen hours per week on the internet. The more time spent using the internet, the more chance there is that they will encounter a predator that is looking to exploit them.
These statistics, while shocking, are understandable. The internet is used by more and more teens every year and many parents are not aware of the dangers to their children. The best defence is a good offence and parents can take measures that can keep their children safe by taking precautions. There are many ways to keep your child safe that is easily available if one takes the time to implement them. Awareness is imperative to your child’s safety and peace of mind.
Software companies that make software to keep your children safe include:
- Safe Eyes (www.internetsafety.com) software that includes internet filtering, monitoring, logging, application control, and time controls
- K-9 Web Protection (www.k9webprotection.com) is a free software application that offers internet filtering and parental controls.
- Shield genie (www.shieldgenie.com) provides you with the ability to remove your child’s access to undesirable content and games and can shield them from inappropriate advances and contacts on the internet. It also has many other safety features.
Safety on Social Networks
There are applications and services that can keep your child protected from cyberbullies and predators while enjoying social network communities. uKnowKids is available for both your child’s computer and smartphone and can aid you in monitoring their activities while they are online. ZoneAlarm SocialGuard can provide alerts to you of your children’s Facebook posts or friends that might be a danger to them. There are many alternatives for keeping your child safe while online, some of which are mentioned here with many more available.
Smartphones can be as dangerous as a computer concerning internet safety because they are internet capable. Younger children may have and use smartphones and parents need to be as aware of the abuses on them that are prevalent in the online environment. If your child has a smartphone, you need to make them aware of the dangers and teach them precautions that should be taken in their use of these electronic devices.
Cyberbullying is more prevalent as your child gets older and cell phones have become the new medium for bullies who think that they can hide behind the electronic screen. Some children are not old enough or responsible enough to have a smartphone. That is a decision that should be made by the parent, not the cell phone salesperson.
Some companies have applications on their phones that can aid you in keeping your child safe. AT&T offers a feature called Smart Controls that will let you limit the online purchases and will block numbers, set monthly caps on the number of texts that are used, and can restrict the time that the device is available for use.
Verizon has similar controls on their phones and adds the ability to designate contacts that are trusted and the ability to block contacts on the phone. These features are available for an added monthly fee but the price is minimal when your child’s safety is concerned. There are also applications that can help you keep your child protected when using their smartphones.
According to internet safety statistics and the aforementioned time spent by children on the internet, controlling the time that your child or teen spends on the internet is a large factor in keeping them safe. If your child has the ability to stay up all night because their devices have no time controls in place, they often will. This amount of exposure can cut into the time that they need sleep which can affect their ability to perform in school. Spending too much time at their computer also affects their physical and mental well-being.
There are many ways that predators can insinuate themselves into the lives of your child while they are online. You as the parent are the best defence against this occurring in their lives, but you must first make yourself aware of the dangers and find the best method for you and them to ensure their safety. Educate yourself of the dangers of the online world and teach them what they need to do to keep themselves safe, as well. Be smart, be safe, and be aware for your sake and the sake of the innocence of your child while they adventure through the wonders and educational benefits that can be gleaned from cyberspace.
Sources: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2346997,00.asp,http://www.netsmartz.org/safety/statistics