Study: Parents in Asia-Pacific hide private data from kids more than cybercriminals

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Online users are well aware that kids can be naughty and hide their online activities from their parents, but a new survey by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has revealed that parents in Asia Pacific do the same with their kids.

Conducted between the first two months of 2020, the study asked respondents: Whom are you afraid of seeing or having access to your private information? Surprisingly, the highest percent (10.3%) was given for children, followed by partner or spouse (9.9%), and parents (9.1%).

“Ironically, online users in Asia Pacific are more concerned of having their blood relatives or relationship partners seeing or accessing their private data online way more than malicious actors. In fact, our survey showed cybercriminals is their least concern with only 3.1%,” commented Stephan Neumeier, managing director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

“This truth is really alarming in the sense that these virtual criminals are actively riding the current chaos, urgently looking for new preys to loot money or information. The lack of awareness and the needed fear to keep their hands off our data can put our online assets and reputation at risk.”

To better understand the psychology behind the survey results, Dr. Joel Yang, clinical psychologist of Mind What Matters in Singapore noted that the statistics can be viewed through a cultural lens given that the region is largely constituted with more collectivistic societies.

“Collectivistic attitudes typically encourage the ‘correctness of social relationships’ and such ideals emphasize hierarchy in family structure. It is key to the social harmony that each member understands and plays their role. In the family unit, this means that children are expected to show respect to their parents without question. This perpetuates the behavior of parents not disclosing any private matters to children which may bring any question to the authority of the parent,” noted Yang.

“Another interesting finding in this survey is that parents in Asia Pacific are not as worried about cybercriminals accessing their private information as others globally are. Through the same cultural lens, people place more trust in the governing bodies and believe that their interests will generally be taken care of,” he added.

Another research from Kaspersky unmasked that parents care about their kids’ online safety but spend less time to educate their kids about online security. More than half (58%) of the surveyed respondents admitted speaking to their children about the subject for less than 30 minutes.

“Trust is important to keep the familial bond intact. Parents should establish openness through constant communication, discuss both the physical and online lives of their children. As guardians, moms and dads should show their kids that they are allies on the Internet and their mutual enemy are cybercriminals. From there, they can build on educating the young and themselves about the best online habits,” added Neumeier.

To help families protect children from various Internet threats, Kaspersky recommends:

  • Establish open communication about online activities.
  • As parents, you should also be transparent about your missteps online, if you have any. This way, your child will know that you are in this together.
  • If you know what your child is looking for online, you can offer help and support, but use the information carefully.
  • Discuss with your child how much time they can spend on social media. Try to persuade your child not to use social media during school lessons or at night.
  • Try not to limit your child’s social circle, but tell them to take care when choosing friends and acquaintances.
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