Half of teens and tweens have engaged in risky online behaviour

Half of teens and tweens have engaged in risky online behaviour according to a survey undertaken by cyber security firm McAfee. 50% of those surveyed had shared content they deemed risky and 48% have chatted or live tweeted with someone they don't know, a 19% jump from 2013. Almost one in five have met someone in person that they've only known online first.

By Alex Choros

Half of teens and tweens have engaged in risky online behaviour according to a survey undertaken by cyber security firm McAfee. 50% of those surveyed had shared content they deemed risky and 48% have chatted or live tweeted with someone they don't know, a 19% jump from 2013. Almost one in five have met someone in person that they've only known online first.

“We know that teens and tweens are willing to sacrifice privacy and cyber safety for the gratification they feel when their social network responds positively", said parenting expert, Dr Justin Coulson, "they weigh up risk and reward on a daily basis and far too many are choosing to take the risk and get the reward, even if it endangers them".

According to Coulson, kids may even have multiple identities across a single social platform, one "parent friendly", and another that their parents don't know about.

The survey also revealed that parents do not fully understand their children's online activity. Half of those surveyed said that their parents can't keep up with technology, and 70% admitted to proactively hiding their online activity. In a recent editorial, technology expert and father, Charlie Brown highlight the importance of understanding gadgets and connected devices as well as your children. "If you don't understand what's possible, you don't know what your child is up to", wrote Brown.

Cyber-bullying continues to be prevalent; 40% of those surveyed said they are currently experiencing online harassment. In a recent interview with Director of Public Affairs for the New South Wales Police Force, Strath Gordon said that people are recognising cyber-bullying as a crime. "If you feel you are being intimidated or harassed online, report it and the police will act".

1033 children and teenagers between the age of 8 and 17 were surveyed. There was an even split among age and gender.

Source: McAfee

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