Kids a cyber threat to parents’ wallets

18% of Internet users in South Africa have lost either money or important information as a result of their children’s online activity, according to joint research by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.

This number suggests that, in addition to the risk of children encountering cyberthreats, they can also cause inadvertent problems for their parents.

However, the numbers are not so surprising when considering that 41% of respondents locally believe their children know little about computer technology, and 28% believe their kids know nothing of cyberthreats, Kaspersky said.

“That same lack of awareness poses risks for parents who allow their children to use their online devices,” the security firm said.

The study was conducted via an online survey from May to June 2014 with users from 23 countries, drawing responses from 11,135 people – 409 of which were from South Africa.

9% of respondents said their children had accidentally deleted important information, while 8% faced unexpected bills from app stores after the youngsters got online.

“All in all, every fifth polled parent confessed they had had an experience of losing money or important data because of their children’s actions.”

Rude awakening

Kaspersky’s research found that only a third of parents are really alert to the danger of these their children’s actions online.

35% of parents indicated concern that their children may spend money online without parental consent, and only 23% were worried that their kids share confidential information too freely online.

The positive side is that parents indicated that they do use various methods to avoid problems and protect their children from online threats.

  • 36% personally control how their children use devices;
  • 16% asked their Internet provider to block access to certain sites;
  • 36% of parents regularly remind their children about the dangers of the Internet; while
  • 15% opted to befriend their children on social networks.

“When parents think of their children spending time online, their first concern is to protect them from unwanted content on the web,” Kaspesrky said.

“However, there is another important aspect that should not be forgotten, and that is the problems kids may cause for their parents.”

Notably, the firm also found that adult children might also use their tech savvy to help older parents who know little about cyberthreats.

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Kids a cyber threat to parents’ wallets