Microsoft: Parents Need to Stay Involved in Their Kids’ Online Activities

By on February 8th, 2011 20:01 GMT

A variety of tools from Microsoft, including Windows 7 Parental Controls, Windows Live Family Safety 2011, and Zune and Windows Media Center family safety settings allow parents to control what online content their offspring can access based on their age.

However, although the tools are there, not all parent are taking advantage of them, reveal the results of a MSN poll designed to get insight into the views and actions related to online safety from children (ages 14–18) and their parents.

Make sure to check out the key findings of the study included at the bottom of this article.

“With the proliferation of social media, the issue of online safety is more important than ever before,” reveals Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International.

“Most parents understand the significance of talking to their children about the associated dangers of online activity, but, as the online landscape continues to evolve, parents need to stay vigilant and actively involved.

“At Microsoft, we’re dedicated to empowering parents to protect their children, and this means giving them the right technological tools, as well as supporting parents and teachers in terms of educating our children.”

February 8th, 2011 marks Safer Internet Day, an initiative organized by Insafe network, a European Commission initiative and supported by Microsoft.

No less than 819 Microsoft employees from a total of 24 countries in Europe have volunteered to educate children, teachers and parents on online safety. According to the Redmond company, they’re expected to reach more than 84,000 people.

“It’s not a game, it’s your life” is the motto selected for Safer Internet Day, with the initiative aiming to educate children as well as their families and the people involved in their education process that actions in their online life has real consequences.

“Youngsters are typically relatively tech-savvy, but this savoir-faire can have a downside as parents may feel like their kids don’t need ongoing advice or guidance with regard to online behavior,” added John Mangelaars, vice president, consumer and online, Microsoft EMEA.

“However, children often cannot appreciate the longer-term implications of the things they share online, so it is incredibly important parents stay actively involved, talking regularly with their kids and using the parental technology tools that are available to them.”

Key Findings

Children

- 67 per cent of teenagers have cleaned out their browser history and/or cache to make sure their parents can’t see what they were looking at online. 17 per cent say they always do it.

- 39 per cent of teenagers look at websites or play online games of which their parents would not approve.

- 44 per cent of teenagers have lied about their age online.

- 15 per cent of teenagers allow all internet users access to their information on social networks.

- However, 85 per cent restrict access to only family and friends or use privacy settings to limit access in some way.

- 75 per cent of teenagers have been contacted by a stranger via the internet, and as many as 37 per cent of these have responded to them out of curiosity.

- Out of those who have been contacted by a stranger online, 10 per cent have been scared by it, and 11 per cent have been worried.

- 15 per cent of teenagers have admitted to communicating something via a social network that was intended to be hurtful or intimidating.

- 23 per cent of teenagers would feel comfortable about making friends with adults online, which they would not ordinarily do, and 18 per cent would feel comfortable revealing secrets online they would not ordinarily share.

Parents

- 87 per cent of parents have talked with their children about potential online dangers — that’s a higher percentage than have had the “birds and the bees” talk (74 per cent).

- 65 per cent of parents are confident that their children are taking necessary safety precautions with the information they are sharing online.

- Over a third (36 per cent) of parents admit they do not monitor their children’s online movements or internet postings.

- 26 per cent of parents do not take any actions to limit or control their children’s internet use at home. 36 per cent use online parental controls or filtering software to block websites.

- 44 per cent of parents do not know whether their children have privacy settings on their social networks.

- 69 per cent of parents take steps to ensure their children don’t stumble on any adult-related sites they have visited.

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