Parents – Do you know what your children are doing online right now?

Singapore, 19 May 2014 – A recent poll conducted by Trend Micro amongst parents in Singapore revealed that approximately half of Singaporean kids and teens (defined as 17 years old and below) own personal devices for accessing the internet, such as laptops, tablets or smartphones. Yet, while the results revealed that parents are worried about their children’s activities, with close to 75% of respondents noting that online security was “very important” to them, only 30% of parents are completely aware of what their offspring are doing on their devices, despite more than half of these kids spending at least 3 – 4 hours online, daily.

“Worryingly, only 1 in 4 parents were confident of keeping their family secure from online threats,” said Terrence Tang, Regional Director, Digital Marketing & Consumer Business, Trend Micro “At the same time, most are clueless about what their children are doing online. This is a huge concern as children these days have high dependency on the Internet – be it for playing online games, staying connected with friends via social media or mobile chat apps, or as a research tool for school work. With the daily increase of cyber-criminals, parents need to be aware of the potential for online trouble and keep tabs on young netizens in order to create a safe online environment for their families.”

The online poll conducted by Trend Micro, surveying 695 respondents from Singapore, revealed that:
  • Half of the kids and teens in Singapore have their own computers of mobile devices. However less than 30% of parents are completely aware of their children’s online activities.
  • Close to 75% of parents feel that online security is very important
  • Parents’ top Internet and online safety concerns were computer viruses and other malware (89%), malicious websites (81%) and exposure to inappropriate content[1] (71%)
  • Although more than 70% or parents are concerned about their children surfing inappropriate content,  less than 30% install or enable parental controls
  • Only 24% of parents are very confident in securing their family from online threats
  • More than half of Singaporean households have 5 or more computers and/or mobile devices

In order to protect the children and teens from potential cyber threats, Trend Micro advises parents to consider the following tips to keep families safe:

1.       Relate
·       Ensure transparent communication – Ask what they are doing online and relate to them by sharing what you do online as well. From there, help them to understand the importance of online security and provide useful advice, information and tools to manage these issues. For pulse checks, keep the conversation flowing on a regular basis.

2.       Re-Learn
·       Stay connected to the sites your children visit – Make it a point to understand what your children are doing online.  At the same time, review the safety and security policies of these sites and see if they require any personal information (like an email address or home phone number) to be provided 
  • Keep yourself updated – Strive to be knowledgeable about threats and security issues so that that you don’t get outsmarted by your kids. At the same time, you’re also setting a good example for your children to follow!
  • Be proactive  If you’re still not sure if a certain site is appropriate for your children, visit Common Sense Media. In addition, check out Trend Micro Site Safety to find out if a URL is malicious or not. 
3.       Regulate
  • Secure your computers and mobile devices – To help protect you and your family from malicious software use a reputable computer security software and keep it up-to-date. For mobile devices, take advantage of built-in security features such as password, autolock, and features that allow a user to disable features such as in-app purchases
Use technology – You can block access to many categories of harmful sites by using the parental control features of your computer security softwareTrend Micro Titanium Security products allow parents to monitor their children online as well as limit their access to inappropriate websites. For mobile phones, use a security application such as Trend Micro’s Mobile Solutions available for both iPhone and Android (free download).

  • Keep personal information private  Make sure your children know to never share their phone number, address, and names. Some security technology, like Trend Micro Titanium can even help you prevent them from posting information like your home phone number online.
For more information on Internet safety at home, check out Trend Micro’s digital e-guides and online security tips here.

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