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Australian children spend more time online than the global average, yet most parents (58%) still aren’t fully aware of their children’s social networking practices

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The latest AVG Digital Diary report studied technology use among young Australian children and found out that 51% of Aussie kids use social networks to keep in contact with each other and that they spend more time online than the global average.

AVG, the anti-virus and internet security company, recently published its latest Digital Diary report to better understand the technological habits of young children (between 6 and 9 years old).

The study found that Australian children spend more time online than the world average, spending 3.9 weekly hours online, 0.4 hours above the global (3.5 hours). The study also found out that 51% of the children participate in kids social networks and 12% of them use Facebook, despite being minors.

“We must approach our children’s first exposures to technology like we do other risky activities and instill a culture of safety. We wouldn’t teach our children to ride a bike without a helmet, or ride a car without a seat belt,” said Lloyd Borret, Security Evangelist of AVG (AU/NZ).

“Likewise parents need appropriate tools for teaching young children about the risks of the internet and put them on a path that will seed a lifetime of good practices.”

Yet the study found that most parents (58%) still aren’t fully aware of their children’s social networking practices. Two percent said that they don’t have the slightest idea of what their children are doing online. The good news is that parental controls in in Australian households (62%) is still higher than the global average (56%).

The report also found that 13% of Australian children have suffered from some kind of cyber bullying, a problem that is more frequent in the older kids of the demographic (between 8 and 9 years old).

“When we instituted car seat and seat belt laws, we may have regulated adults but in the process we created a generation of children that grew up with the mindset that seatbelts were simply a routine part of riding a car,” said Borret.

“I think we can do the same thing with Internet safety and very quickly drive  a cultural shift that ultimately will begin to close the doors on cyber crime.”

The infographic can be downloaded here (PDF).

Photo by edenpictures

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