Cybersafety for Tweens and Teens

Last month McAfee part of Intel Security and long-time partner of Life Education, released a new piece of research on Tweens Teens and Technology with some interesting results.

The annual research examined the online behaviour and social networking habits of Australian tweens and teens and aims to educate on the impact that risky behaviour has on their privacy, reputation and social media experiences.

According to the research, YouTube is the number one social site across all age groups, with Facebook the most likely to be visited daily. In 2013, Skype was the most popular social website among tweens. New social media sites, such as Keek, a video-based social networking site, and Yik Yak, an anonymous messaging app, have gained quick acceptance across all age groups.

Facebook remains popular however there has been a spike in underage users; with 31 per cent of 8-9 year olds and 60 per cent of 10-12 year olds admitting to having a Facebook profile, despite the legal age being 13 years old. This is a big rise from 2013, where 26 per cent of tweens were using Facebook.

Worryingly the report also revealed that around 40% of our children have experienced some form of online bullying and 50% of all those interviewed admitted to posting something risky online.

At Life Education our bCyberwise and It’s Your Call programs, which were developed in conjunction with McAfee, teach teens and tweens about how to be safe cyber citizens and how to respect others online.

We understand that with the rise in the number of young people online, and at younger ages, cyberbullying is an unfortunate factor in online interaction. There is still a lot to be done in educating about the negative consequences for victims, witnesses and those who display bullying. The focus of the program is prevention; teaching valuable skills that promote social and emotional development, positive relationships, self-respect and safe decision-making to help combat and minimise the risks young people are facing online.

What the research did reveal however is that 8 in 10 tweens and teens would respect guidance on personal decisions regarding social media from their parents, and nine in 10 say their parents trust them to make the right decisions online.

Alex Merton-McCann, McAfee Cybermum, suggests that as parents we need to stay on top of all the new digital trends to be able to support our children in digital environments as well as building a developing a dialogue with our children around social media and the potential dangers.

What you can do to help your kids stay safe online:
1. Connect with your kids. Talk to them about the risks of being online and make sure the communication lines are always open.
2. Learn their technology. Stay one step ahead and take the time to research the various devices your kids use. You want to know more about their devices than they do.
3. Get social. Stay knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks. Join whatever networks or sites your kids are into so you understand how it all works.
4. Reputation management. Make sure your kids are aware that anything they post online is permanent.
5. Stay calm. If your kids come to you with an online problem, it’s important not to overreact. Deal with it calmly and don’t threaten to take devices away, or they may not feel confident about seeking your help again.

You can find out more about the research carried out my McAfee by visiting their website or by downloading the infographic

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