New Delhi: McAfee today released findings from a recent global study, “New Family Dynamics in a Connected World,” that aims to better comprehend how families’ attitudes and habits are evolving as their homes and lifestyles become increasingly connected. This study underscores the need for simple ways for parents to manage internet connectivity in their homes – from blocking inappropriate sites to controlling the amount of time users spend on their devices.
The growing integration of connected devices in the lives of children is paving way for unique and hackable gateways for cybercriminals into the smart home network of consumers. Gartner forecasts that “there will be more than 10.5 billion ‘things’ in homes by 2020,” which, we believe, would further create a larger potential risk that the devices and personal data, that flow from them, can be compromised. While internet-connected devices offer consumers new opportunities, they can also come with some drawbacks and potential risks that can be the detriment of relationships.
“In today’s connected world, parents play a crucial role to decide on the usage of technology and how it can influence their kids’ lives,” said Anand Ramamoorthy, Managing Director, South Asia, McAfee. “As Indians shift towards smart connected homes, we must help parents actively manage the way their families interact with connected devices to ensure that security and privacy measures are implemented. When these measures are realized consumers can enjoy the full potential that connected devices and smart homes have to offer.”
Current Monitoring Methods Don’t Keep Pace with Technology
· Parents tend to use older methods to monitor the device usage of their children. For example, 59% of Indian parents monitor their child’s device usage by keeping the device in their possession and only giving the child the device when the parent can monitor. Only 36% of Indian parents are using software to monitor.
· 49% of Indian parents are concerned about their child potentially interacting with a social predator or cybercriminal online.
Today’s Digital Habits Cause New Parenting Concerns
· Bedtime habits have changed a lot since the introduction of smartphones and tablets. 84% of Indian parents allow their child to bring an internet-connected device to bed.
· Not only are parents concerned about who their children are interacting with online, they are also monitoring how much time they spend in front of a screen. 57% of Indian parents allow their child to have 1-2 hours of screen time per day, and 21% allow their child less than one hour a day.
· The need for monitoring internet usage is real, though, with 54% of Indian parents claiming they have discovered that their child visited an inappropriate website, highest when compared to 13 other countries:
o Australia (26%), Brazil (45%), Canada (25%), France (41%), Germany (33%), Italy (33%), Japan (18%), Mexico (35%), Netherlands (26%), Singapore (37%), Spain (32%), U.S. (37%), U.K. (23%)
· 50% of Indians stated that they have argued with their child about bringing a device to bed.
· Conversely, kids aren’t the only ones who are using devices when they shouldn’t: Approximately 71% of Indian parents surveyed also claimed that their child has called them out for being on their device during family time.
The Good News: Online Safety Conversations Are Happening Between Parents and Children
· Indian parents understand the importance of talking to their children about the potential dangers on the internet, with roughly 93% having addressed the risks with their children at some point.
Tips to Keep Families Secure in Year Ahead
To stay protected in the evolving online world, McAfee has the following tips for parents:
· Start conversations early. If you start talking about online safety early on, it will make your job that much easier when your children get older. If your kids are young, you can start with simple rules like “don’t open emails from people you don’t know.” Treat rules for online behavior just like any other rules. You want online safety to be part of normal behavior.
· Set a good example. It’s easy to get caught up spending a lot of time paying attention to our smartphones and tablets. Kids pick up our habits, both good and bad, so you can set a positive example for them by limiting your time on social networks around them. Putting down the phone during dinner and family time will let your children know the importance of interacting with others in person as opposed to online.
· 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.
· 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.
· 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 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.
· Keep strangers out. As children use technology so frequently they can become desensitized and let their guard down, potentially allowing the wrong people into their circle. Your child could be interacting with (and manipulated by) a social predator or dangerous person posing as a teen (catfish). A false sense of security can set in not just on social networks it applies to services such as Uber*, Lyft*, and Craig’s List*, where safety is an assumption. Remind kids that anyone can create a profile and to turn down friend requests from strangers.
· Take control of your home network. The home network is the hub for all of your connected devices. New solutions, such as McAfee Secure Home Platform, help you easily manage and protect devices connected to this network while providing parental controls with permissions that can be tailored to the entire household.