With Christmas just around the corner and expectant children worldwide hoping for presents from Santa Claus for their good behavior, Kaspersky Lab has revealed which countries’ children are the worst culprits for risky online behavior over the last 12 months.
Based on global statistics for its Parental Control module, the research shows that the most attempts to visit dangerous websites by an underage user were recorded in Israel (775), followed by the UK (460), the US (352), Sweden (345) and Canada (302). Kids from the Philippines, meanwhile, tried visiting risky websites 56 times.
The research covers the year from December 2015 to November 2016, and includes data gathered from Kaspersky Lab security solutions for Windows and Mac OS X with the Parental Control module enabled.
The statistics are based on the number of attempted visits the module records to sites that fall under the seven preconfigured categories* deemed most dangerous for kids by Kaspersky Lab experts. The statistics are presented as the number of attempts per user per year.
The results of the research show that children from Japan are most likely to try and visit sites categorized as ‘Adult content’ (39 attempts) and ‘Software, audio, video’ (104) – the latter category includes sites with unlicensed content.
It turns out that young Italians are most interested in gambling (3.6 attempts), while youngsters in Portugal were the most frequent visitors to sites with explicit language (60).
Israeli kids showed most interest in alcohol, tobacco and/or narcotics (687 attempts per user) and weapons (3.8), while most attempts to visit violent content sites (1.8) were made by children in the US.
In fairness, it should be noted that not all these attempts are deliberate; for example, children can end up on these sites by accidently clicking a banner or a link shared by someone else.
Meanwhile, another study conducted by Kaspersky Lab in 2016 and covering 3,780 families in seven countries found that, by their own admission, young Russians and Americans were more likely than other kids to hide evidence of potentially dangerous online activity from their parents, as well as use content that was inappropriate for children.
“Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and this is especially true for parents who today have to protect their children from undesirable and sometimes dangerous information in both the real and virtual worlds,” comments Sylvia Ng, General Manager at Kaspersky Lab Southeast Asia. “A mom or a dad cannot always be next to their kid to prevent a casual encounter with, say, pornographic content or sites promoting drug use. That’s why specialized IT solutions are so important in warning parents and helping to prevent children from visiting this type of content.”
Unfortunately, Santa Claus was not available for comment.
Internet Security tips – to help improve your kids’ online safety
Children can be just as vulnerable online as they are in the real world. So it’s important that you do whatever you can to reduce the chances of your kids being exposed to any risks. Here are a few online safety tips to help keep your kids safe online:
Talk to your children about the potential dangers that they may face online.
If possible, locate the computer in a family room.
Try to make the computer a shared family experience.
Encourage your children to talk to you about anything they experience online that upsets them or makes them feel uncomfortable.
Restrict the content that can be accessed via the computer:
Many Internet security solutions can help you to do this
Internet Explorer includes a Content Advisor that can also help
Provide guidelines that let your child know what they are allowed – and are not allowed – to do on the Internet. For example, your guidelines could tell your child whether they are permitted to:
Register with social networking or other websites
Make online purchases
Download music, video, or program files
Use instant messaging programs
Visit Internet chat rooms
If your child is allowed to use instant messaging and / or visit chat rooms, it’s worth explaining to them that it’s dangerous to chat with or send messages to anyone that they don’t know and trust.
Install a rigorous anti-malware product that’s capable of defending the computer against malicious programs and hackers. Many Internet security software products combine antivirus capabilities and advanced Parental Control features that make it easier to protect your children when they’re online.
*Categories of websites which can be blocked by the Parental Control module in Kaspersky Lab’s solutions are: Adult content; Alcohol, tobacco, narcotics; Computer games; E-commerce; Explicit language; Gambling, lotteries, sweepstakes; HTTP query redirection; Internet communication media; Job searches; News media; Religions, religious associations; Software, audio, video; Violence; Weapons, explosives, pyrotechnics. The statistics presented in this press release includes 7 categories: Adult content; Alcohol, tobacco, narcotics; Explicit language; Gambling, lotteries, sweepstakes; Software, audio, video; Violence; Weapons, explosives, pyrotechnics.