Keep an eye on children's online activities
Study shows six out of 10 children here hide their online activity or cover their tracks from their parents
If you think you know what your children are up to online, you may want to check on them again.
Six out of 10 children here revealed that they hide their online activity or cover their tracks in the cyber world from their parents.
This is according to a recent study by global software protection firm Intel Security, which surveyed the online behaviour and social networking habits of 1,002 parents and children, aged eight to 16, between April and May this year.
Intel Security released its findings yesterday and revealed that 59 per cent of children surveyed would change their online behaviour when their parents were around.
A third would clear their browser history and delete messages.
Half of the children would also use anonymous names or aliases for their social media profiles and more than one in three uses a fake profile to hide inappropriate content from their parents and school staff.
Even though 71 per cent of the parents surveyed attempted to find out what their children were doing online, it seems that the majority of the kids surveyed do not want their parents to do so.
Parenting blogger Edmund Tay said he was concerned that children were using fake profiles to hide information from their parents.
"It tells me that the communication between the children and their parents has broken down," said Mr Tay, who spoke as part of a panel discussion after the findings were presented yesterday.
Fellow panellist Touch Cyber Wellness manager Chong Ee Jay also spoke about how parents can better connect with their children online and offline.
This comes even as eight in 10 parents said they sat their children down and discussed the risks of social media.
The good news is that the study, now in its second year, revealed that 38 per cent of children are aware of the threat of cyberbullying. This is an improvement from last year's results, where only 7.4 per cent of children polled the same.
Mr David Freer, vice-president of Intel Security's Asia Pacific Consumer business, said: "Parents should regularly and openly discuss online behaviour with their children.
"An open dialogue between parents and children along with the right tools empowering parents to protect their family online can go a long way."
Advice for parents
BE A ROLE MODEL
Parents can set as many rules regarding the use of electronic devices at home, but they must set a good example by following these rules, said Touch Cyber Wellness manager Chong Ee Jay.
Family blogger Edmund Tay agreed.
"If the adults are not being the role models, how can the young people follow suit because they don't know what to do. They just follow what they see," he said.
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO MANAGE PEER PRESSURE
Some children may feel pressured by their friends and ask their parents for a mobile phone or ask to join social networking sites.
This peer pressure is a very real problem, said Mr Chong.
"But parents must give the assurance that it's okay not to have these communication devices.
"Schools also should give assurances that the children will not be short-changed in their learning."
BUILD A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILD, OFFLINE
The parenting approach is not about policing your children, but building a relationship with them, said Mr Tay.
"From young, it should be about quality time together, building the essential blocks such that when they grow older, there's still that trust there.
"If you have a good relationship with your child, he will want input from you in what he does, online or offline," he said.
BY THE NUMBERS
of the children surveyed admitted they watched pornography
said they cyberbullied others
said they have sent incriminating photos of themselves to someone else
purchased drugs or alcohol or gambled online
have played video games with a stranger.