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Online Safety Survey Reveals Digital Citizensí Biggest Concerns

Digital Citizens, Friday, November 21, 2014

We’re still poring over the results of our family online safety survey  (which you can still take, by the way!)—but we wanted to highlight some of the most interesting findings we’ve come across so far.

  • Out of all the digital threats we face online, malware, spyware, and viruses seem to be top of mind for most of our survey respondents—with nearly 50% saying that is their single biggest concern when it comes to their family’s safety online. In addition:
    • 13% said illegal, illicit or stolen content
    • 13% said online scams
    • 5% said cyber bullying

  • Interestingly, when asked who in your family is most vulnerable when it comes to online safety:
    • Nearly 40% of respondents said they, personally, are most vulnerable
    • 13% said their parents
    • 16% said their spouse or partner
    • 18% said their children


  • When asked how safe you feel online personally:
    • Roughly 50% said they only feel “somewhat safe” online
    • More than 20% of respondents said they feel “very unsafe” or “not very safe”
    • Only 10% said they feel “very safe”
    • About 20% were neutral—feeling neither safe nor unsafe

  • Of the respondents who had children:
    • 75% said they feel their children are “not very safe” or “very unsafe” online
    • 22% said they feel they are “somewhat safe” online
    • Only 5% said they feel their children are “very safe” online

  • Of the top issues we face online, the ones Digital Citizens cited as “extremely important” include:
    • Identity theft (75%)
    • Cyber bullying (60%)
    • Online predators (60%)
    • Content theft (45%)
    • Illegal prescription drugs (42%)

What Digital Citizens Are Saying

Perhaps even more telling than the raw stats and numbers are what Digital Citizens had to say when we gave them the chance to sound off.

Here’s what one of our members had to say when asked how app or software developers and Internet companies could help increase security and privacy for children online:

I think apps should be clearly defined as for adults or children of a certain age. Like Vine or Tinder or Snapchat, there should be age "ratings." It would help parents at least. Anyone suspected out of guidelines needs to be banned from app/software or the app store altogether.

Another Digital Citizen responded:

Provide information to parents about how their products work and how to supervise their children online.

When asked what other safeguards could help protect children from online predators, one of our members said:

Parents are always the first line of defense in protecting their children, but it would be nice to have some sort of group that alerts parents of these apps and what is out there. It is very hard to keep up these days and even the best parents can miss something unless they research all day every day, which is unreasonable, obviously.

While another one said:

Allow device owners to control what information is collected and transmitted and deny all access. Make all monitoring, sharing, collecting, tracking explicitly opt-in, not opt-out.

Another had some words of wisdom about the role of education in protecting children online:

Educating children about online predators and teaching them to talk to a trusted adult if someone asks them to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable. Make sure kids understand people on the internet may not be who they seem.

And one put it simply:

Parents should make a point to know everyone their children talk to on the internet.

The feedback we’ve been getting from our survey has been enlightening, to say the least.  It highlights some things we suspected—and more importantly, it has helped us understand some things that weren’t quite as obvious.

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