65% of parents not protecting their kids online: report *updated*

In new research released by Microsoft Australia, it has revealed that 65 percent of Australian parents are doing nothing to protect their children online.

Microsoft’s “For Safety’s Sake” research, found that while two thirds of Australian parents surveyed are concerned about the safety of their kids online, more than 60 percent of parents allow their children to surf the net unsupervised and unrestricted at home.

Not surprisingly, one fifth of all Australian parents surveyed have caught their children looking at unsavoury material online, almost one third have found their children chatting to strangers, 36 percent have caught their kids downloading software without permission and another 12 percent have found their children handing over personal details.Microsoft For Safety Sake

Microsoft’s “For Safety’s Sake’ research sheds new light on the motivations behind the Federal Government’s planned ‘Clean Feed’ censored internet legislation. Supporters of the legislation are likely to use the figure to highlight the need for more to be done to protect children online, with critics of the legislation likely to use the figure as evidence of the lack of support for a Government mandated censorship of the internet.

Electronic Frontiers Australia, a vocal opponent of Government censorship of the internet has responded to the report, believing it shows that parents do not wish their children’s internet to be filtered. Their Open Internet campaign is leading the way opposing any Government plans for a filtered internet.

The survey revealed that in spite of concerns for online safety we are still not doing enough to educate and help protect our children;

  • More than two thirds of Australian parents admit they know only a few of their children’s online friends; another 11 percent admit they are totally in the dark, knowing none of their children’s online friends;
  • Only half of all parents (58 percent) house the computer in a public area of the home;
  • 20 percent of parents have not discussed online safety with their children;
  • More than 60 percent of parents are aware their computer has parental control software available – yet less than a third of all parents monitor their children’s activity online.

“Don’t be in the dark about your children’s online lives. For adults, the risks may be controlled by filtering technologies but protecting children while they are using computers can be quite challenging,” said Stuart Strathdee, Chief Security Advisor, Microsoft Australia.

Microsoft offers a number of ‘Parental Controls’ in their Windows 7 product, for more information on Parental Controls, please visit: Windows 7 Parental Controls

Microsoft also supports online education through its partnership with The Australian Federal Police – More information can be found at: www.thinkuknow.org.au

For the EFA’s full response to the report, see this post.

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