MELBOURNE and AMSTERDAM - 18 April 2012 – 44 per cent of parents are keeping tabs on their teens by accessing their Facebook accounts without their consent, AVG Technologies’ latest Digital Diaries global study reveals.
Digital Coming of Age, the fifth instalment of AVG’s Digital Diaries study, features responses to AVG’s questions to 4,400 parents with 14-17 year olds in 11 countries, including Australia and New Zealand. It found that more than a third of parents were concerned that their teen’s interaction with social media sites could affect their future job prospects. Spanish parents (65 per cent) were the most concerned, while parents in the Czech Republic (29 per cent) were the least worried, compared with Italy (57 per cent), Germany (47 per cent), France (45 per cent), Australia (42 per cent), US (40 per cent), Canada (38 per cent), New Zealand (37 per cent), Japan (33 per cent) and the UK (30 per cent).
Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd, said, “AVG’s latest research encourages us to consider whether Facebook and other social networking sites are creating a new kind of parental relationship, or whether we are in effect spying on our teens? These sites are providing parents with new methods to monitor what their kids are doing without necessarily having to be ‘heavy handed’ or to quiz their child directly.”
Digital Coming of Age also unearths that nearly half of all parents surveyed globally felt that schools were effective in teaching their teens to use the internet responsibly. UK parents have the most faith in the teaching ability of schools (59 per cent), while the Czech Republic had the lowest (31 per cent), compared with Spain (54 per cent), Australia (53 per cent), United States (49 per cent), New Zealand (47 per cent), Germany (44 per cent), Canada (43 per cent), France (43 per cent) and Italy (35 per cent).
Will Gardner, CEO, ChildNet International, commented: "We know from our work in schools that children and young people are using a wide range of devices to surf the net and we also hear from many parents who are confused about how their children are getting online and what they are doing online. One of our key messages is to encourage parents to talk with their children and young people about what they're doing online, who they're talking to and to find out whether they have any safety concerns. It's great when families can connect online, but offline conversations are also a key part of staying safe online."
Other key findings from the Digital Coming of Age include:
- UK parents are most likely to suspect teens of ‘sexting’ - nearly one quarter (23 per cent) of UK parents suspect their kids of sexting, compared with Australia (22 per cent), United States (21 per cent), Spain (21 per cent), Canada (20 per cent), New Zealand (17 per cent), Japan (15 per cent), Italy (11 per cent), France (10 per cent), Czech Republic (13 per cent) and Germany (9 per cent)
- Spanish parents (45 per cent) are most suspicious their teens are illegally downloading music - compared with parents in the Czech Republic (35 per cent), France (30 per cent), UK (28 per cent), Australia and New Zealand (27 per cent) and US (19 per cent) – UK teens could even face up to ten years in jail for illegal downloads, as a result of Britain signing the disputed Anti-Countering Trade Agreement (ACTA) bill.
- Just under half of parents surveyed are concerned their teens mobile photos are geo-tagged
- One fifth of UK and US parents suspect their teens of accessing pornography on their PC - compared with over a quarter of Spanish parents, and 17 per cent of Australian parents.
- One fifth of UK and US parents have seen explicit or abusive messages on their offspring’s social networks - compared with over one quarter of Australian and New Zealand parents
- Parents ‘friending’ teens on Facebook - over half of UK parents are connected with their teens on Facebook, compared with United States (72 per cent), Canada (66 per cent), Italy (66 per cent ), Spain (64 per cent), New Zealand (60 per cent ), Australia (57 per cent), Germany (51 per cent), Czech Republic (50 per cent), France (32 per cent) and Japan (10 per cent).