Kaspersky Lab’s latest report shows that children around the world spend most of their time online using communication tools such as social networks, email, chats, etc. (accounting for 67 per cent of online activity). Gaming portals (11 per cent) and websites containing information about alcohol, narcotics and tobacco (9 per cent) came second and third, respectively. At the same time, there is a noticeable difference between children’s interests in different countries.
The report shows anonymised statistics from Kaspersky Lab solutions for Windows PCs and Macs with the Parental Control module switched on over a 12 month period. It also presents the share of visits or attempted visits to websites with potentially harmful content that fall under one of the 14 preset categories*. The statistics show that during the reporting period, children cut back on visits to communication media and adult-themed websites. This trend may reflect the fact that children are moving most of their sensitive activities to mobile devices, which were not covered in the report.
The “Internet communication media” (social media, instant messaging, chats and forums) category was most popular in Mexico (86 per cent), Russia, Brazil and Italy (all slightly more than 70 per cent). The least communicative during this period were children in China (30 per cent), Germany (31 per cent) and the UK (32 per cent). Interestingly, the less popular this category was in a country, the more popular the “Computer games” category was. Children in the UK (28 per cent), Germany (26 per cent) and Australia (21 per cent) are most likely to play online, while children from Mexico (4 per cent), Italy (6 per cent) and Japan (7 per cent) do so less frequently.
When it comes to watching videos, listening to music and downloading software, kids in Japan are the clear leaders (12 per cent of all Parental Control notifications). They are also more likely to shop online (17 per cent), as are children and teenagers in China (20 per cent). The category “Alcohol, tobacco and narcotics” racked up the most notifications in Germany (23 per cent) and the UK (25 per cent). In its turn, adult content generated most interest among children in China (23 per cent) and Japan (5 per cent). This topic was of least interest in the UK and the US (both less than 1 per cent).
“A country’s economic conditions and cultural traits can have a direct impact on the types of websites that children around the world are accessing. We see children becoming more independent online, choosing what music to listen to, what movies to watch and even what software they install. In the UK specifically, the statistics show that video games are significantly popular, as well as ‘alcohol, tobacco and narcotics’ being a frequently revisited topic. In light of this and the type of the material that these children are accessing, it’s imperative to educate them on how to behave safely and responsibly online. We encourage parents to talk openly about proper utilisation of the Internet as soon as they start interacting online. This will ensure that parents and children stay one step ahead of any malicious online activity, rather than become vulnerable to content due to lack of awareness. — says Kirill Slavin, General Manager, UK and Ireland at Kaspersky Lab.