78% of families have a mobile phone, 56% a laptop and 50% a tablet. There is a PC in one in every four families, and other smart devices in every fifth family, and game consoles in 15% of families. The results of the research also indicate that 60% of children already have a mobile phone, 40% have their own laptop or tablet, and 15% their own PC, smart device or game console. From these data, it is evident that in effect every family should pay close attention to the online safety of their children since almost all of them have access the internet in some form or another. Only 2% of all families surveyed had children who did not use the internet, notes Mihály Kiss, delivery director of INNObyte Zrt.
In the families that were interviewed, 50% of children are not permitted to use the parents’ work device or mobile phone at all, although 25% can use the given device occasionally, 15% weekly but under supervision, and 10% without any form of supervision at all, which from a professional perspective represents a threat not only to the family’s personal data but also company business secrets and confidential information, the INNObyte expert highlights.
The research project suggests that the coronavirus epidemic has had an impact on the services used on the internet, thus it is possible that 85% of respondents use the internet for school-related learning, yet every fifth child logs on to the network not for directly school-related learning purposes. The majority of children (80%) watch videos (YouTube, Netflix, etc.), communicate online (70%) or spend their time playing games (60%), but every third child can be found on one of the social media sites as well.
Parents limit internet use for the majority of children: every fifth child can browse the internet for maximum 1 hour a day, every third child 1-2 hours, although 20% are permitted to spend even 2-4 hours a day online, and the remainder, 30%, can browse online without any restrictions.
At the same time, the majority of parents do not restrict access to certain parts of the internet for their children, neither at a network level (62%) nor device level (58%). Those who deal with this are primarily concerned about filtering out gambling, sexual or violent content. Most parents employ the given devices’ own options from among the safety restrictions although Google Family Link, Kids Place, anti-virus programmes (Kaspersky, Eset), and Parental Control options loaded in Windows are also popular. Those who do not restrict their children do so mostly because they trust them, or the child is only permitted to learn, play or browse on devices when under supervision, furthermore, there was one respondent who chose to do so because of negative experiences with various content filtering solutions (especially on the router). 10% of respondents indicated that they were not familiar with this area and would be willing to receive help and guidance.
Half of those replying to the survey had already come across the detrimental aspects deriving from the use of the internet. Most complained about the development of addiction, that is, their children were not prepared to relinquish the device, or only with great difficulty. 15% said that they had accidentally visited a website with violent or disturbing content, and the same percentage experienced being contacted by unknown individuals; 14% had already fallen victim to cyberbullying. The school or parent – and in most cases, both – had a talk with 90% of children about the dangers lurking on the internet, but 10% of children had never been informed about these risks.
“The internet has become a part of everyday life for the majority of families, frequently children can have unlimited access to unsuitable content. Games, advertisements found on different video sharing sites, and the use of social media sites are especially dangerous areas for children because these are ways of coming into contact with strangers and with just a few clicks they can find themselves on unsafe sites,” explains Mihály Kiss, delivery director of INNObyte Zrt. “As a software development company, we have always paid particular attention to IT safety, not least because of the attitude of INNObyte focusing on families. We highly recommend making children aware of the risks apparent on the internet and monitor internet usage from time to time. In this matter, it is vital to build and retain trust so that the child always knows he/she can turn to the parent in times of trouble, where he/she will always receive support. If a parent wishes to restrict access to websites at a network level, we recommend reviewing the settings on the router at home. If a parent wants to install protection on the child’s device, we primarily recommend anti-virus programmes, which help not only in preventing trouble but if things do go wrong, then the damage can be minimized.”