One-third of American Children under 12 Admit to ‘Bad’ Online Experiences in Lockdown, Avast Survey Finds

Nearly one third of children under the age of 12 in the US (32%) have admitted to having bad online experiences during lockdown, digital security and privacy products firm Avast reports.

Of this group, 78% of children said they had received unkind messages; 73% had received unsolicited and inappropriate content; and 76% had received unwanted contact from a stranger.

Another 71% had accidentally downloaded a computer virus and 76% had received an unkind video call.

Despite the fact that 47% of parents say they are now having more open conversations about online safety, almost nine out of ten children (89%) said they didn’t have the confidence to tell their parents.

Among the reasons children gave for not seeking help were: they felt scared (13%), embarrassed (11%), or didn’t want a friend to get into trouble (8%).

A further 11% said they didn’t want to lose access to their smartphone, tablet or laptop as a consequence, while the same number (11%) didn’t recognize the incident or content as harmful.

In order to encourage conversations with children about the experiences they’re having online, Avast suggests three top tips:

Be calm and approachable: Children will only communicate issues up to where they feel the rules apply. If they feel you will get angry, they will be less likely to tell you.

Get up to speed with their online world: You have to educate yourself on what’s going on in the 2020s. Know which apps children are using, which social media they like, and what interests them online.

Prepare for the journey: Much like a train journey, children are on a fast moving “internet express”, and parents need to be prepared to discuss all the stops along the way as their children’s internet usage evolves.

Avast Family Space is currently on offer to download for free from the Apple App Store and/or the Google Play Store. It is a two-part app: Avast Family Space for Parents runs on the administrator device, and Avast Family Space for Kids can be installed on up to ten monitored devices.

For more information, please visit https://www.avast.com/family-space.

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