Dubai: Parents need to do more to protect their children from the growing number of online threats, as a recent study revealed as little as 26 per cent in the UAE use a parental control software to help restrict their kids’ online activity.
The new research from Kaspersky Lab also showed that among the parents who have not installed parental control features, 26 per cent believe that it is better for children to learn how to use the internet safely themselves.
The Consumer Security Risks Survey 2016 uncovered what parents think about the online world and the challenges they face in protecting their family from threats. The research showed that 37 per cent of UAE parents worry that their children could be exposed to inappropriate or explicit content online. Just 34 per cent are wary of their children communicating with dangerous strangers, and only 32 per cent worry about them becoming a victim of cyberbullying.
“Parents need to help their kids become more cyber-savvy and put protection methods in place to keep them safe online as they would in the physical world,” said Andrei Mochola, head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.
The study found that not enough parents are taking the required steps to protect their children, with only a little more than a third (36 per cent) regularly talking to their children about the dangers online and bringing the internet into family conversation, and 33 per cent regularly checking the internet history on the browser. What’s more, only 17 per cent of parents in the country prefer to become a contact within their children’s social networks.
“You wouldn’t let your children cross the road or talk to strangers on their own, so it’s surprising to see almost a quarter of parents leaving their kids to browse the internet independently,” said Mochola.
The findings indicate parents in the UAE need to be more aware of the dangers lurking on the internet. According to the survey, 56 per cent of children in the UAE were exposed to online threats in the 12-month period leading up to the research. These threats included being exposed to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, dangerous strangers and more.
“It’s easy to overlook the security threats of the online world when you’re a busy parent but leaving kids to deal with threats without help is unsafe. As the digital world increasingly impacts on all aspects of our lives, it is more important than ever to boost knowledge and put safeguards in place,” added Mochola.
Box: Research findings
26% parents in the UAE use a parental control software to help restrict their kids’ online activity
36% parents in the UAE regularly talk to their children about the dangers online and bring the internet into family conversation
37% UAE parents worry that their children could be exposed to inappropriate or explicit content online
33% parents in the UAE regularly check the internet history on the browser
17% parents in the UAE prefer to become a contact within their children’s social networks
56% kids in UAE were exposed to online threats in the 12-month period leading up to the research