McAfee, Inc. Research Reveals Mothers Rate Cyber Dangers as High as Drunk Driving or Experimenting With Drugs
McAfee Recruits Mother of Three as Industry’s First Chief Cyber Security Mom
58% of moms think the government is not doing enough to keep kids safe online
32% of teens clear the browser history to hide what they do online from their parents
34% of teen girls have given out photos or physical descriptions of themselves to strangers
SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--About two-thirds of mothers of teens in the United States are just as, or more, concerned about their teenagers’ online safety, such as from threatening emails or solicitation by online sexual predators, as they are about drunk driving (62 per cent) and experimenting with drugs (65 per cent), according to new research released today by Internet security company McAfee, Inc.
“There are times I’ve felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the new things my kids are doing online”
This fear is supported by the McAfee study, which revealed that 52 per cent of teens have given out personal information to someone online they don’t know offline, with 34 per cent of online teen girls having given out a photograph or a physical description of themselves to someone they don’t know. The biggest hurdle mothers face is keeping track of what their kids do online, as 32 per cent of teens said they have cleared the browser history when they have finished using the computer, and 16 per cent have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles to hide what they do online from their parents.
“As a father of three I certainly worry about what my kids may do and encounter online,” said Dave DeWalt, McAfee president and chief executive officer. “While progress has been made over the past decade to combat online dangers, they remain very real for our kids. Education is a key part of the McAfee Initiative to Fight Cybercrime, which we announced yesterday, because we know that informed parents will mean safer kids online.”
The research conducted by Harris Interactive® for McAfee among more than 1,000 U.S. moms of online teens aged 13-17 and online teens aged 13-17, offers numerous insights into moms’ fears and teenagers’ behaviors on the Internet. Fifty-eight per cent of mothers do not believe the government is doing enough to keep children safe online. And moms no longer view their children’s bedrooms as a safe place either – 44 per cent said they worry about their teens’ safety when they are online in their bedroom unsupervised, and about one in four (24 per cent) are more concerned about what their children do online than what they do when they are out of the house. When it comes to their teens’ online behavior, sharing too much personal information is a primary worry of 58 per cent of mothers.
Are Mothers Deluding Themselves About What Their Kids Do Online?
According to the study, the answer is a resounding “yes.” McAfee’s research found that 72 per cent of mothers have a verbal agreement with their teen – that is, a discussion of what is and is not allowed online – and 48 per cent admitted they don’t always know what their kids do online. Through polling teens, McAfee discovered that the reality is that many teenagers are spinning a web of evasive operations to avoid their parents’ supervision, while potentially exposing themselves and others to cyber dangers.
So how far will mothers go to keep a protective eye on their teen’s activities online? In order to keep track of what their teen does online, a quarter (26 per cent) of moms said they have joined and “friended” their child on a social networking site, but many moms are going undercover to monitor their children. Fifty nine per cent said they check their child’s browser history when they are done using the Internet and 15 per cent use a software program to monitor what their kids do online.
Many adolescents would be shocked by such underhand tactics. A quarter would be shocked (24 per cent), one in five would feel hurt (19 per cent) and 34 per cent would feel offended if they found out their mother, like Lynette, a mom on the television show, “Desperate Housewives,” was keeping track of what they do online without their knowledge or permission.
The study marks a new education initiative by McAfee to help moms keep up with the latest online dangers and teach their kids to stay safe online with its appointments of Tracy Mooney as its first Chief Cyber Security Mom and online safety expert, lawyer and author Parry Aftab as its first Family Internet Safety Advisor.
First Cyber Security Mom
Recognizing that education is at least as important as technology, McAfee today announced the appointment of Tracy Mooney, a Chicago mother of three, as the industry’s first Chief Cyber Security Mom.
“There are times I’ve felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the new things my kids are doing online,” said Mooney. “There’s a lot of information out there, parents just need to know where to go to find it. Kids will always want to break the rules and stretch boundaries and you have to give them their space and privacy. What works for me is acting before it happens and teaching them how to behave responsibly and safely online, as you would teach them to behave in the real world.”
Writing as a parent for parents, Ms. Mooney, who recently participated in McAfee’s “S.P.A.M. Experiment,” will provide easy to understand information and advice to concerned mothers via her Web page at www.mcafee.com/mom. She will also be meeting with other moms and leading government and industry bodies on the subject of online safety in schools and communities.
“Through my own experience as the mother of three children, ages 17, 12 and 4 1/2 who are incredibly active online, I know how easy it is for your kids to get into danger online,” said Mooney. “Last year, I found out my son was receiving threatening messages. That experience started me on a path to learn more about all the things I need to do as a parent to keep my kids safe from harm.”
For more information and a copy of the findings please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn how to create a dialogue between parents and children about online safety, parents are invited to download “McAfee’s 10 Step Internet Safety Plan” e-book at www.mcafee.com/advice.
About the Survey
Harris Interactive conducted this online survey within the United States on behalf of McAfee, Inc. between September 26 and October 8, 2008, among 529 teens ages 13-17 who access the Internet and between September 30 and October 10, 2008, among 598 women ages 18+ who are mothers/legal guardians of teens ages 13-17 who access the Internet. Data were weighted to be representative of each population respectively. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Stuart Yeardsley (415) 618-8814.
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
About McAfee, Inc.
McAfee, Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. It delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that secure systems and networks around the world, allowing users to browse and shop the Web securely. With its unmatched security expertise and commitment to innovation, McAfee empowers home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to comply with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities and continuously monitor and improve their security. http://www.mcafee.com.
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