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Cyber Safety Overview

This year, 2020, is quite different for so many reasons; notably, Covid 19. Covid-19 has moved people indoors, requiring us to perform work and school from home for most of the calendar year. Some businesses have managed to thrive during 2020, including the mobile phone and PC business. Yes, the PC (personal computer) is popular again, and PC usage continues to increase. This is good news for companies that make PC’s, PC hardware, software and peripherals.

“Customers are using Windows PCs to stay productive, connect and learn in this time. In fact, over 4 trillion minutes are being spent on Windows 10 a month, a 75% increase year on year,” Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, wrote in a blog post on Monday. Windows had nearly 87% share of the PC operating system market in April, according to NetMarketShare, and in March, Microsoft said it had reached 1 billion active Windows 10 devices.

Cell phone usage is also on the rise. User’s are spending more time logging into their social media and are spending longer on social media with each use. Internet technology has impacted our lives since its inception. Each device provides another opportunity for exposure to harmful cyber activities.

We know the cyber world has more visitors now, but how many of these visitors practice cyber safety? Cyber safety is needed for a safe and secure lifestyle. Cyber safety protects you from persons interested in stealing your confidential information, tracking your physical location, learning personal information about you for harmful purposes, initiating contact with minors, and various other purposes equally improper. Since dependency on the internet is growing, the importance of cyber safety is also growing.
New advancements in technology are often accompanied by dangers and threats associated with its use, including the internet. Since the internet is accessed by children as well, it is crucial to educate children as well about the safety and security aspects of it. Using the internet safely and securely without leaking private information, and to establish safe protocols for accessing certain websites and cell phone applications is a skill. Especially kids, teenagers, and less computer and internet literate people are victimized on the Internet. Here are some cyber statistics you may not be aware of:

  • 10 – 14 is the average age of online victimization
  • YouTube is 2nd most-used search engine following Google
  • As of May 2019, 500 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube every minute
  • 16% of the child pornographic images are self-produced, 40% are produced by threats or coercion
  • 20% of Tinder users are between 12-19-year old children
  • Social networking sites are virtual communities
  • Kids convene on these sites to chat, IM, post pictures, and blog (journal)
  • They appeal to teens because they provide instant community, instant celebrity, and encompass many online tools and entertainment activities
  • 40 percent of kids in grades 4-8 reported they connected or chatted online with a stranger. Of those 40 percent:
    – 53 percent revealed their phone number to a stranger
    – 21 percent spoke by phone with a stranger
    – 15 percent tried to meet with a stranger
    – 11 percent met a stranger in their own home, the stranger’s home, a park, mall or restaurant
    – 30 percent texted a stranger from their phone
    – 6 percent revealed their home address to a stranger (Children’s Internet Usage Study, Center for Cyber Safety and Education, March 2019).
  • Technologies designed to prevent access to pornography or other online content perceived as harmful and;are presented as possible protective measures, and on average, a quarter of European families report using them. (July 2018: Internet Filtering and Adolescent Exposure to Online Sexual Material)
  • 72 percent of Americans believe their accounts are secure with only usernames and passwords, yet every two seconds there is another victim of identity fraud. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to keep your accounts secure. (Stop. Think. Connect .(n.d.) “Lock Down Your Login”, accessed 1-16-2017 from https://www.lockdownyourlogin.com).
  • When it comes to online enticement, girls make up the majority (78%) of child victims—while the majority (82%) of online predators are male. And 98% of online predators have never met their child targets in real life. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “The Online Enticement of Children: An In-Depth Analysis of CyberTipline Reports”
  • 50 percent of American adults are worried about the amount of personal information about them online, while 47 percent said they were not confident they understood what would be done with their data once it was collected (National Cyber Security Alliance, January 12, 2017).
  • 39% of parents report using parental controls for blocking, filtering or monitoring their teen’s online activities (Pew Research Center, January 2016).
  • Internet safety was the 4th most commonly identified “big problem”, up from #8 in 2014. Sexting received the biggest change in rating this year, from #13 in 2014 to #6 in 2015 (http://mottnpch.org/reports-surveys/top-10-child-health-problems-more-concern-sexting-internet-safety)
  • Just 28% of parents have installed software on computers to prohibit certain website visitation; only 17% have such software on mobile devices, and just 15% on gaming consoles (Cox Communications 2012).
  • One in two parents do not use any blocking or filtering software on their children’s Internet enabled devices. (FamilyPC Survey, August, 2001)
  • Nine in 10 teens say their parents have talked to them about online safety.
  • However, nearly half (49%) of teens claim their parents do nothing to monitor their devices. Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.
  • Nearly half of teens admit to taking action to hide their online behavior from parents. Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.
  • 46% of teens have cleared their search history and/or cookies on their browser. Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.
  • 1 in 5 teens have used a private browsing feature so their parents can’t see the sites they’ve visited. Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.
  • 14% of teens report friends have invited someone over that they had only met online. Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.
  • On average, teens spend 5 hours and 38 minutes online every day. Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.
  • 18% of teens have considered meeting with someone in person whom they first met online.
  • Of these, 58% have actually met up with someone in person. Cox. (2014) “Cox 2014 Internet Safety Survey.” The Futures Company.

Internet safety for children should be a top priority. Children must be safeguarded from dangers including but not limited to obscenity, scams, malwares, identity theft, phishing, child pornography and cyberbullying. Safety has become a challenge. Acknowledging this is an issue is the first step in advancing our safety initiative. We will spend the next few weeks discussing the basics of the internet and talking about what families can do to safely navigate through the internet and social media applications. Until then, here are a few basic steps you may want to consider trying.

Stop – Before using the internet or sharing any data, take time to understand the risks involved. Learn how to tackle potential risks.
Think – Watch for warning signs before accessing anything online. Consider the safety of others and analyze the importance of sharing the information.
Connect – Always connect to authorized and safe internet connections.

Posted by on 16 Nov 2020