New Intel Security “Realities of Cyber Parenting” Study Indicates Parents Most Concerned About Children Unknowingly Interacting With Predators

Study also finds 27% of Youth Would Meet or Have Met Someone in Person they First Met Online

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--()--Intel Security today released findings from a new study, “The Realities of Cyber Parenting: What Pre-teens and Teens Are Up To Online,” which examines the online behaviors and social networking habits of American pre-teens and teens ages 8 to 16 years old; the study also surveyed the concerns of parents. The 2015 research revealed that when it comes to online activity, parents are most concerned (28%) about their children unknowingly interacting with predators/pedophiles, while 21% fear them interacting with strangers in general. This concern could be warranted as 27% of teen/pre-teen respondents said they would meet or have met someone in person they first met online.

“Parents must have frequent and open conversations with their children about their online behavior as well as its risks and rewards,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security. “This type of transparent communication may help build stronger trust between parents and children; hopefully this will encourage children to share more information about their online interactions, and, in turn, alert their parents when they encounter any suspicious activity or conversations online.”

Online/Offline Interactions

Of the parents surveyed who use social media, about 84% follow or are connected with their children, hoping to gain access to their interactions with followers and the information they post. Ninety-four percent of parents believe they know what their children are doing online.

Protecting Personal Information

The majority of parents (89%) say it is important that their children receive online safety or cybersecurity training on how to better protect their personal information. The survey indicates that their children are following suit, as 83% of them say they are concerned about the privacy of their personal information and 79% are learning about online safety from their parents.

Cruel Intentions

Fifty-five percent of preteens and teens surveyed believe that other people gaining access to their personal information is the worst activity that can happen to them online. Yet, 29% know other people’s online passwords. Of those teens who have and use other people’s passwords, 56% report they use them to see if the person is talking to an ex, while 38% say they want to see private photos and 24% want to dig up dirt on the other person.

Cyberbullying Causes

While parents’ concerns about cyberbullying are not as high as they are regarding predators, 35% of youth indicate that they have bullied people on social media. Of those who have bullied others, 61% state it was because the person was mean to them, while 26% indicated it was because they did not like the person.

Other Study Highlights:

Posting for Likes

  • 61% of 13-16 year old boys and girls, 69% of 8-12 year old boys, and 73% of 8-12 year old girls stated that the number of 'likes' or 'favorites' on a social media post matter to them. In fact, 28% of 8-12 year old girls say that 25-50 'likes' or ‘favorites’ make them feel happy, while 21% of 8-12 year old boys say that 50-100 ‘likes’ or ‘favorites’ make them feel happy.

Everyone Loves Selfies

  • 56% of youth share that photos of themselves, or “selfies,” receive the most likes, while 20% say that a photo with a group will get their posts more likes.

Adult Online Friends

  • Fifty-two percent of parents are comfortable if their children are friends with adults on social media. Of this group, 93% of parents approve if the person is a relative or someone they know, and 56% of parents would permit their children to be friends with a teacher.

Time Spent Online: Boys vs. Girls

  • 31% of parents believe that their 8-year-old daughters spend 10-15 hours a week online compared to fewer than 5 hours a week for their 8 year old boys. Boys and girls ages 8-12 (76% and 71%, respectively) and 66% of 13-16 year old boys report spending “most of their time” on mobile devices watching videos. About 71% of 13-16 year old girls report spending “most of their time” texting.

Top 5 Cyber Parenting Tips to Help Facilitate Online Safety:

1. Connect With Your Kids. Talk casually and frequently with them about online risks, and make sure the communication lines are open. Foster discussions around relevant news stories or cases at schools.

2. Set Password Rules. To show camaraderie and trust, teens may share their social media passwords with friends or acquaintances. Friend or not, this is a dangerous practice. Put a consequence in place for breaking this critical password rule.

3. Read App Reviews. By reading app flags, age restrictions (ranks include: everyone, low maturity, medium maturity, or high maturity) and customer reviews for an app, you will be better equipped to evaluate whether an app may be suitable for your child.

4. Gain Access. Parents should have passwords for their children’s social media accounts and passcodes to their children’s devices which allow them to have full access.

5. Up Your Tech Knowledge. Stay one step ahead and take the time to research the various devices your kids use, as well as creating your own social media accounts. Staying knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks is an important way to understand how they work and may help you determine whether your kids are on them.

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Quantitative Methodology

Intel Security commissioned MSI International to conduct the online survey among 1,001 children and teens ages 8 to 16 and 1,001 parents in the United States. The survey was split evenly among age and gender. The online interviews were conducted from April 28-May 12, 2015.

About Intel Security

McAfee is now part of Intel Security. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique McAfee Global Threat Intelligence, Intel Security is intensively focused on developing proactive, proven security solutions and services that protect systems, networks, and mobile devices for business and personal use around the world. Intel Security is combining the experience and expertise of McAfee with the innovation and proven performance of Intel to make security an essential ingredient in every architecture and on every computing platform. The mission of Intel Security is to give everyone the confidence to live and work safely and securely in the digital world.

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© 2015 Intel Corporation


Intel Security
Mary Salvaggio, 646-527-5858
Eva Ross, 212-981-5218


Intel Security
Mary Salvaggio, 646-527-5858
Eva Ross, 212-981-5218