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Nearly half of UK parents keep tabs on teens via Facebook

   Is this a new kind of parental relationship, or is it spying?


AMSTERDAM - 17th April, 2012 – Parents are keeping tabs on their teens by accessing their Facebook accounts without their consent, AVG Technologieslatest Digital Diaries study reveals.

Digital Coming of Age, the fifth instalment of AVG’s Digital Diaries study, features responses to AVG’s questions to 4,400 parents with 14-17 year olds in 11 countries. It found that only 30 per cent of UK parents are likely to be concerned about how their teen’s interaction with social media sites could affect their future job prospects.  This was the lowest figure (excluding the Czech Republic) of all the countries surveyed.

Tony Anscombe, AVG’s Senior Security Evangelist, said, “AVG’s latest research encourages us to consider whether Facebook and other social networking sites are creating a new kind of parental relationship, or whether we are in effect spying on our teens?  These sites are providing parents with new methods to monitor what their kids are doing without necessarily having to be ‘heavy handed’ or to quiz their child directly.”   

Digital Coming of Age also unearths that nearly two thirds (59 per cent) of UK parents believe schools were effective in teaching their teens to responsibly navigate the internet. This was the highest figure of all countries surveyed.

Will Gardner, CEO, ChildNet International, commented: ”We know from our work in schools that children and young people are using a wide range of devices to surf the net and we also hear from many parents who are confused about how their children are getting online and what they are doing online.  One of our key messages is to encourage parents to talk with their children and young people about what they’re doing online, who they’re talking to and to find out whether they have any safety concerns.  It’s great when families can connect online, but offline conversations are also a key part of staying safe online.” 

Other key findings from Digital Coming of Age include:

·       UK parents are most likely to suspect teens of ‘sexting’ -nearly one quarter (23 per cent ) of UK parents suspect their kids of sexting, compared with their European counterparts in Germany (9 per cent), France (10 per cent), Italy (11 per cent) and Czech Republic (13 per cent)

·       28 per cent % of UK parents suspect their teens are illegally downloading music - compared with Spain (45 per cent), Czech Republic (35 per cent ) France (30 per cent ), Australia and New Zealand (27 per cent ), United States (19 per cent ). UK teens could face up to ten years in jail for illegal downloads as a result of Britain signing the disputed Anti-Countering Trade Agreement (ACTA) bill

·       One fifth of UK parents suspect their teens of accessing pornography on their PC - in comparison to over a quarter of Spanish parents

·       One fifth of UK parents have seen explicit or abusive messages on their offspring’s social networks -compared with over one quarter of Australian and New Zealandparents

·       Parents ‘friending’ teens on Facebook -over half of UK parents are connected with their teens on Facebook, compared with United States (72 per cent), Canada (66 per cent ), Italy (66 per cent ), Spain (64 per cent ), New Zealand (60 per cent), Australia (57 per cent ), Germany (51 per cent), Czech Republic (50 per cent), France (32 per cent) and Japan (10 per cent)

·       Nearly half of UK parents are worried that their teen’s mobile phones are geo-tagged

·       Only 30% of UK parents concerned about how their teen’s interaction with social media sites could affect their future job prospects, compared with Spain (65 per cent), Italy (57 per cent), Germany (47 per cent), France (45 per cent), Australia (42 per cent), Canada (38 per cent), New Zealand (37 per cent), Japan (33 per cent) and Czech Republic (29 per cent).

·       UK parents most satisfied (59%) with how schools are teaching their teens to responsibly navigate the internet, compared with Spain (54 per cent), United States (49 per cent), Australia (53 per cent), New Zealand (47 per cent), Germany (44 per cent), France (43 per cent), Canada (43 per cent), Japan (42 per cent), Italy (35 per cent) and Czech Republic (31 per cent).

 

About AVG Digital Diaries

The first stage of AVG’s Digital Diaries campaign, Digital Birth, focused on children from birth to age two. The study, released in October 2010, found that on average, infants acquire a digital identity by the age of six months old. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of children have had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parent – establishing a digital footprint even before birth. The second stage, Digital Skills, was released in January 2011 and showed that for two to fiveyear olds, ‘tech’ skills are increasingly replacing ‘life’ skills. In fact, many toddlers could use a mouse and play a computer game, but could not ride a bike, swim or tie their shoelaces.  Digital Playground, released in June 2011, found nearly half of six to nine year olds talk to friends online and use social networks. This was followed with Digital Maturity in November 2011, which revealed how 11 year olds had developed adult skills in technology.

 

Research for all stages of the Digital Diaries series was conducted by Research Now on behalf of AVG Technologies. 

 

About AVG

www.avg.com

AVG’s mission is to simplify, optimize and secure the Internet experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG’s powerful yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of their Internet experience. By choosing AVG’s software and services, users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown its user base to approximately 108 million active users as of December 31, 2011 and offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and small business markets and includes Internet security, PC performance optimization, online backup, mobile security, identity protection and family safety software.

 


 

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