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Kids, safety and the Internet.

Got a press release the other day that I felt was worth sharing with you chaps... It has to do with privacy and safety concerns of how kids use the Internet. Ever since the initial hoo-hah about what kids can get up to (think NetNanny launching etc) we've become a little complacent. Take a look at this screenshot to jolt yourself into action. I'm not sure what the solution is, but we need to think about this, and talk about it...

The screenshot is from ou.toilet, the mobile based youth network that caused a flutter in South Africa recently.


The MSN survey, run by Microsoft as part of Safer Internet Day on 8 February, suggests that nearly half (44%) of children have lied about their age when online; over a third (37%) of those who had been contacted by a stranger (75%) responded; and only 4% told someone older that they trusted, such as a parent or teacher.

What’s more, 39% of children between the ages of 14 and 18 look at websites or play online games that their parents would likely disapprove of, and two-thirds (67%) clear out their browser history to make sure their parents can’t view their online activity.

The survey, looking at the attitudes and behaviours of both parents and children around online safety, was conducted last month across 11 countries, including South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Russia, Greece and Egypt.


  • 67% of teenagers have cleaned out their browser history and/or cache to make sure their parents can’t see what they were looking at online. 17% say they always do it.
  • 39% of teenagers look at websites or play online games of which their parents would not approve.
  • 44% of teenagers have lied about their age online.
  • 15% of teenagers allow all internet users access to their information on social networks.
  • However, 85% restrict access to only family and friends or use privacy settings to limit access in some way.
  • 75% of teenagers have been contacted by a stranger via the internet, and as many as 37% of these have responded to them out of curiosity.
  • Out of those who have been contacted by a stranger online, 10% have been scared by it, and 11% have been worried.
  • 15% of teenagers have admitted to communicating something via a social network that was intended to be hurtful or intimidating.
  • 23% of teenagers would feel comfortable about making friends with adults online, which they would not ordinarily do, and 18% would feel comfortable revealing secrets online they would not ordinarily share.
  • 87% of parents have talked with their children about potential online dangers — that’s a higher percentage than have had the “birds and the bees” talk (74%).
  • 65% of parents are confident that their children are taking necessary safety precautions with the information they are sharing online.
  • Over a third (36%) of parents admit they do not monitor their children’s online movements or internet postings.
  • 26% of parents do not take any actions to limit or control their children’s internet use at home. 36% use online parental controls or filtering software to block websites.
  • 44% of parents do not know whether their children have privacy settings on their social networks.
  • 69% of parents take steps to ensure their children don’t stumble on any adult- related sites they have visited.


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