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The secret cyber-life of ten year olds

By the age of ten, children break the rules set by parents to keep them safe online

Posted by Hannah Oakman | October 15, 2016 | Technology

New research by Kaspersky Lab sheds light on the complex digital lives of children, revealing those as young as ten actively attempt to hide their online world and circumnavigate the rules their parents set to govern internet use in the home today. With half of ten year olds (51 per cent) owning a tablet and a third (33 per cent) their own smart phone, a worrying 42 per cent believe they have the skills and knowledge to hide what they’ve been doing online from parents. By age 13, this rises to a concerning 70 per cent.

Of the ten year olds Kaspersky Lab polled, 10 per cent hadn’t spoken with a parent about their behaviour online despite easy access to and ownership of their own digital devices. Of those that did have rules put in place to keep them safe, one in four (27 per cent) admitted to logging onto the internet at a friend’s house to get around these. Unsurprisingly, this has led to children as young as ten being exposed to:

  • Content containing bad language (42 per cent)
  • Content containing something violent (28 per cent)
  • Pornographic materials (11 per cent)

 The study of over 1,000 children highlights a clear divide between parents seeking to protect youngsters from harmful content and threats, and the inquisitive nature of tech-savvy youngsters intent on finding ways to do what they want online today.  

“As the first truly digital native generation, it’s frighteningly easy for children today to find their way into the dark corners of the internet or be exposed to content way beyond their years,” comments David Emm, principal security researcher, Kaspersky Lab.

“At ten, many children appear mature and confident enough to handle internet-enabled devices, but parents seem to overlook their impulsive and often naïve nature. Our study found that almost one in five ten year olds wouldn’t think twice about posting something nasty about a person online if they’d been made to feel upset.

“For young people exploring, experimenting and taking their first steps online today, its vital parents take an active and ongoing role to mentor them, discussing the risks, threats and dangers to define what constitutes safe, responsible behaviour online.”

Kaspersky Lab urges parents to create an environment for their children where discussions are open from an early age and where both parties can agree together what is safe together. As part of Kaspersky Total Security 2017, the Kaspersky Safe Kids function can help families protect against online dangers by regulating the time children spend online, managing the use of apps and vetting inappropriate websites and content.

For more information on the latest products from Kaspersky Lab, please visit

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