Parents don't act on cyber-safety fears

Summary:Most Australian parents are concerned about the safety of their children online. But new research shows that parents don't back up their concerns with meaningful actions, and that in any event they might well be concerned about the wrong risks.

Most Australian parents are concerned about the safety of their children online. But new research shows that parents don't back up their concerns with meaningful actions, and that in any event they might well be concerned about the wrong risks.

Research by "For Safety's Sake" (PDF) for Microsoft Australia found that while 64 per cent of parents were concerned about cyber-safety, 65 per cent don't use any parental control software and 62 per cent allow their kids to access the internet unsupervised.

Parents perceive their kids to be more at risk accessing the internet from friends' homes than their own, and rate the risk from online predators as being more dangerous than exposure to pornography. In turn that's seen as more dangerous than bullying, which is seen as more dangerous than identity theft.

Few parents knew who their children's friends were online.

In Patch Monday this week, Stilgherrian discusses the research results with Microsoft's chief security advisor in Australia, Stuart Strathdee, as well as with child protection expert Karen Flanagan from Save the Children Australia. Both point out that the risks are not as they seem, and provide some practical tips.

Plus we have the usual idiosyncratic look at the week's IT news headlines.

To leave an audio comments for Patch Monday — and we're particularly interested in hearing parents' thoughts on cyber-saftey — Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Topics: Censorship, Microsoft

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.