McAfee Canada study reveals digital disconnect between online behaviour
of youth and level of parental awareness
MARKHAM, ON, Feb. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - McAfee Canada today released the
findings from the company's 2014 Digital Deception in Canada study, which examines the online habits and interests of preteens,
teens and young adults. It finds that when it comes to spending time on
the Internet, Canadian youth between the ages of 10 and 23 are viewing
content and engaging in behaviour that they choose to hide from their
parents in a variety of ways.
"Children are hiding details about their online activities, and they're
deleting instant messages and videos so that parents don't find out
about their online and connected habits," said Brenda Moretto, Canadian
Consumer Sales Manager at McAfee. "This study has shown the importance
of parental involvement in influencing and maintaining a healthy level
of proper online attitudes and conduct amongst our youth. Through
active engagement, we can help them understand the importance of being
responsible and making smarter cyber choices."
While 35 per cent of Canadian parents attempt to monitor their
children's online behaviour by using parental controls on their
computers and mobile devices, 56 per cent of youth between the ages of
10 and 23 have visited websites or viewed videos their parents
disapprove of. More than one out of five (22.4 per cent) youth viewed
something away from home so their parents wouldn't find out about it.
Some of this content includes sexual topics, drugs, simulated or
real-life violence, bullying, depression, and answers to tests or
assignments, among others.
Are Parents Trying Hard Enough?
More than half (57 per cent) of Canadian youth say their parents have
had a conversation with them about being safe online, and 35 per cent
of youth experience parental controls on their home computers and
personal mobile devices to keep them safe. Furthermore, 27 per cent of
youth say their parents have asked for the passwords to their email or
social network accounts and mobile devices.
On the flip side, 25 per cent of youth say their parents do not engage
in any of the following to monitor their online behaviour:
Engaged in a conversation about being safe online
Set parental controls on home computers and/or personal mobile devices
Asked for passwords to email accounts, social network accounts, and/or
Took away mobile devices or computers
Removed access to Internet-enabled devices at home
Used location-based devices to keep track of the child
Consulted with a psychologist or school counselor about online behaviour
Other key findings include the following:
Teens are adept at hiding online behaviour from their parents.
Seventy-six (76) per cent of youth say they have done something to hide
online behaviour from their parents or other adults. For example, 52
per cent have modified Internet settings (e.g. cleared the browser
history, used private browsing modes, configured privacy settings to
hide content, and disabled parental controls), and 35 per cent have
closed or minimized the browser when a parent or other adult was
Looking closer at the data, almost half of female youth (49.6 per cent)
cleared their browser history after an online session, as compared to
39.8 per cent of male youth.
Along the same lines, 29.6 per cent of male teens and 36.1 per cent of
female teens deleted instant messages or videos. Broken down by age, we
find that 31.3 per cent of 13-17 year olds and 36.8 per cent of 18-23
year olds did this to hide online activity from their parents.
More than one out of five (22.4 per cent) youth viewed something away
from home so their parents wouldn't know what they were doing online.
When we sort this data by age, it amounts to 19.2 per cent of pre-teens
(10-12 years old), 28.5 per cent of 13-17 year old youth, and 18.9 per
cent of young adults (18-23 years old).
Teens are curious about online content of which their parents would not
More than half (56 per cent) of youth have visited websites or viewed
videos of which their parents would disapprove. Thirty-nine (39) per
cent of male youth and 33.2 per cent of female youth have visited a
website without parental approval.
Almost a quarter (24.9 per cent) of male teens and almost a third (31.1
per cent) of female teens has viewed a video online that parents would
not approve of.
Girls are more likely to say they have hacked into someone else's email
and social network account compared to boys (13.7 per cent vs. 6.5 per
Teens are actively searching for sensitive information and inappropriate
Seventy (70) per cent of youth say they have intentionally looked up at
least one of the following topics online: sexual topics, answers to
tests or assignments, drugs, simulated or real-life violence posted on
social networking sites, bullying, depression, dating or matchmaking
sites, sites about anorexia or bulimia, suicide and sites with
resources to get help with an eating disorder.
Thirty-nine (39) per cent of male teens and almost half (47.7 per cent)
of female teens search for sexual topics such as intercourse, pregnancy
and sexually transmitted diseases.
Thirty (30) per cent of 18-23 year olds are most likely to search for
content about depression. Overall, 10.7 per cent of male youth and 21.3
per cent of female youth have been interested in learning about the
More than one out of five (22.2 per cent) male youth search for
simulated or real-life violence posted on Facebook and YouTube.
"One of the best ways to educate children on how to be safe online is
through active engagement," said Moretto. "Talk to them and show
interest in what they are doing online, set clear rules about online
usage, keep the computer in a common area, and help them to feel
comfortable about coming to you with questions."
Tips on How to Bridge the Digital Divide
Parents must become tech savvy and become familiar with the online world
their children are immersed in.
Get device savvy: Learn how to use the Internet-connected devices and
computing software in your household, whether they be laptops,
desktops, tablets, mobile phones, and software products.
Immerse yourself: Get socially involved in the channels your kids are
using to communicate, and you'll learn about the nuances that come with
maintaining online personas.
Teach online reputation management: Once you've gained a working
understanding of the online social world, teach your kids what is
appropriate online behaviour and what is not acceptable, and explain
why. As a general guideline, don't post something online that you don't
want your grandma to see.
Get secure: Utilize comprehensive security solutions, like McAfee
LiveSafe Service, that include antivirus software to protect yourself,
your kids, your identity and personal data on all of your devices.
Infographic: Digital Deceptions in Canada: http://mcaf.ee/mcu7t
A survey of 350 youth between the ages of 10 to 23 completed the online
survey between January 3 and January 21, 2014 using Leger's online
panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a
margin of error of +/- 5.2%, 19 times out of 20.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC),
empowers businesses, the public sector and home users to safely
experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive
and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and
mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy,
innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global
Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping
its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com.
McAfee Canada is headquartered in Markham, Ontario, with regional
offices across Canada. The company's Consumer Software Research and
Development facility is based in Waterloo, Ontario.
Note: McAfee is a registered trademark of McAfee, Inc. in the United
States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as
the property of others.
McAfee Canada maintains a website called "The State of Consumer and
Enterprise Security in Canada" (http://mcaf.ee/canadastats) in order to provide a one-stop shop for writers looking for
information on a variety of trends and issues affecting and shaping the
Canadian security landscape. Feel free to check out the McAfee Canada
resource site for security information, statistics, story ideas, and
access to published McAfee surveys and studies.
Image with caption: "McAfee Canada's 2014 Digital Deception in Canada survey reveals that 76% of youth hide their online activities from their parents. (CNW Group/McAfee, Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140219_C5058_PHOTO_EN_36836.jpg
SOURCE: McAfee, Inc.
For further information:
Dianna Lai / Steve Gold
StrategicAmpersand Inc. (for McAfee Canada)