Over half of parents spy on kids social networking

July 13, 2011

Internet security firm BullGuard has posted the results of a survey it commissioned on 2,000 UK internet users to determine how they monitored their offspring when online.

And the results show that more than half (55%) of parents snoop on their children’s social networking profile to check what they’re up to. 5% more say they would do so “if they knew how” (which really is a worry).

40% said they regularly checked their offspring’s social status updates, and 39% checked out the wall to see who had been talking to their child.

11% have even gone as far to set up a Facebook account with the sole purpose of friending and watching their child (given that a third of children reject friend requests from their parent’s accounts, not surprisingly).

When asked why they covertly monitored their child’s social movements, a third admitted to being over-protective, and a quarter said it was the only way they could really determine what their kid was up to.

BullGuard calls the latter point an “astonishing” statistic, presumably referring to the fact that these folks are unaware of measures such as parental controls which can be installed on a computer.

We guess at least they’re concerned about what their children are up to, though, which is better than not caring at all.

Of course, it isn’t just social networking which is a concern for parents – 76% regularly check the internet history to make sure children aren’t visiting dodgy sites, and a quarter monitor sent emails.

While 14% admitted to just being nosey, 41% said they did so because they were quite rightly worried about malware being installed on a PC via an insecure site.

Claus Villumsen of BullGuard commented: “It certainly seems as though parents are taking advantage of the trail of information left by web use in order to check up on their kids.”

“These figures are initially quite surprising, but since certain malicious third parties have been known to prey on unsuspecting or over trusting individuals online, it does seem as though many could have legitimate concerns.”


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