Tweens Fool Their Parents Online, McAfee Reports

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By Athena Yenko | July 29, 2014 10:43 AM EST

Australian tweens are fooling their parents about the truth behind their online activities, a survey from McAfee found.

A survey conducted by McAfee of 1000 tweens found that 70 per cent of children as young as eight years old to seventeen are hiding their internet activities from their parents through making bogus and numerous social media accounts, clearing browser histories and hiding or deleting files.

McAfee chief technology officer Sean Duca said that children lead their parents into believing that it was parents who "boss" around the internet activities in the house while the truth is otherwise.

"If you ask most families: 'How did you set up your wireless network at home? They'll say: 'my son, my daughter did it'. Kids are the digital natives, they are the ones that can easily set up and use the technology. They're ahead," Duca said.

However, Justin Coulson, a parenting expert, said that the report should not cause for parents to spy on their children because this could lead to the development of unwanted behaviour among kids.

"Parents should say to children, we're going to have lots and lots of conversations about cyber safety because we're concerned about your digital reputation. We're going to bring trust into the relationship, and we're going to ask for periodic access," he said.

A previous related study conducted by McAfee revealed ten mos popular ways of how children are hiding their internet activities from their parents:

1.       Clearing the browser history (53%)

2.       Close/minimise browser when parent walked in (46%)

3.       Hide or delete IMs or videos (34%)

4.       Lie or omit details about online activities (23%)

5.       Use a computer your parents don't check (23%)

6.       Use an internet-enabled mobile device (21%)

7.       Use privacy settings to make certain content viewable only by friends (20%)

8.       Use private browsing modes (20%)

9.       Create private email address unknown to parents (15%)

10.   Create duplicate/fake social network profiles (9%)

" While it is not necessarily surprising that teens are engaging in the same types of rebellious behaviors online that they exhibit offline, it is surprising how disconnected their parents are. There is a major increase in the number of teens finding ways to hide what they do online from their parents, as compared to the 2010 study," Stanley Holditch, Online Safety Expert for McAfee said.

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