Today Intel Security released findings from a recent global study, “New Family Dynamics in a Connected World,” that reveal the extent to which technological devices are embedded in the lives of British families. The research shows families spend almost the same amount of time interacting with one another in person (37% of their time), as they spend interacting with their connected devices (35% of their time).
Internet Monitoring Methods aren’t up to scratch
As families are becoming more tech dependent, Gartner forecasts that “there will be more than 10.5 billion ‘things’ in homes by 2020, and with the EdTech market set to reach over $252 billion in investment globally by 2020, children will increasingly be within arms’ reach of connected devices.
Despite the safety risks associated with the internet, Intel Security discovered that parents are struggling to take the necessary security precautions to protect their families from cyber crime. According to the survey of 13,000 people, 21% of British parents reported that they were not concerned about their children speaking to a social predator or criminal online. This may explain why 40% of children are not being monitored when they are using their devices, leaving them open to being vulnerable to risks such as cyber bullying or online crime.
Parents currently feel powerless about how to educate their children, with a third (29%) saying that they would monitor their children’s online activity if there was an easier way to do it.
Bedtime reading replaced with cyber-risks
Bedtime is proving to be a particularly big challenge for British families. The advent of smartphones and tablets has transformed bedtime and the days of reading a book with a torch under the duvet are behind us.
Intel Security found that children are increasingly being left with gadgets in their room, further challenging parents to find a way to monitor and control their internet usage post-bedtime:
- 42% of parents would choose to pause the internet in their household during bedtime if they could to stop their children from being distracted
- Only 28% of parents keep their children’s devices in their possession when their children shouldn’t be using them and allow their children to use the devices when the correct security measures are in place
“Technology has revolutionised our home lives, with many parents relying on devices to help their children with learning and entertainment” says Nick Viney, VP of Consumer at Intel Security. “However, we need to empower parents to actively manage how their families interact with those devices, to ensure the benefits continue to outweigh the potential risks. When the correct security and privacy measures are taken, everyone in the family will feel more protected enabling them to fully enjoy all the benefits of living in a smart home.”
Tips to Keep Families Secure in Year Ahead
To stay protected in the evolving online world, Intel Security has the following tips for parents:
- Start conversations early. If you start talking about online safety early, it will make your job that much easier when your children get older. If your kids are young, start with simple rules like: “don’t open emails from people you don’t know.” 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 on our devices, and kids pick up our habits – both good and bad. Set a positive example by limiting your time on social networks when at home and putting your phone away during dinner and family time.
- Keep strangers out. Most children have been using devices from an early age, desensitising them to the potentials risks of online behavior. A false sense of security can set in for children and they could be unknowingly interacting with a social predator or dangerous person posing as a teen (catfish). This isn’t just on social media networks; it applies to common services such as Uber*, Lyft* and Craigslist*. Remind kids that anyone can create a profile and to decline 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.
 Gartner, Market Trends: Choose a Functional Business Model for the Connected Home Market, 15 April 2016
 Edtext Global, 2016 Global Edtech Industry report, n/a http://ecosystem.edtechxeurope.com/2016-edtech-report