New global report reveals startling statistics about online digital family behavior

New global report reveals startling statistics about online digital family behavior

The Norton Online Living Report Shows One In Five Children Worldwide Admit To Doing Things Online Their Parents Would Not Approve Of. Three Quarters Of UK Parents Are Concerned About What Their Children Are Doing Online; One Quarter Have No Idea About What Their Children Get Up To On The Internet.

LONDON, UK – Symantec Corp, makers of Norton security software, today released the first volume of the Norton Online Living Report (NOLR) revealing that, more than ever, adults and children around the world are getting emotionally and socially connected online - including dating, friendship and playing – as well as for information and communication. The NOLR, undertaken by Harris Interactive, revealed some startling statistics about how Internet-Age technologies have affected families across the world.

Up to half of online adults worldwide and up to 40 per cent of online children worldwide have made friends on line, with 72 per cent of responding UK adults having translated at least one online friend to an offline friend. In the UK, 43 per cent of online adults and 26 per cent of children enjoy their online relationships as much or more than their offline friendships. This indicates a major shift in how people relate to one other and provides potential clues for the future of human interaction.

Another common theme worldwide reveals that parents’ perception of what their children are doing online does not reflect the reality of what their children say they are doing. For example, one in five responding children admit to conducting activities online that they know their parents would not approve of with 24 per cent of UK online children spending tenfold or more time online than their parents think they do. The survey revealed that 72 per cent of responding parents in the UK are concerned about their children’s activities online, with 25 per cent having no idea about what their children are doing on the internet.

This can have shocking consequences: Five times as many children online in the UK have been approached by a stranger online than their parents believe. In UK, adults believe that four per cent of children have been approached online by a stranger. The actual per cent reported by UK online children is 20.

Online parents are recognising the social and informative benefits of the Internet both for themselves and their children yet few are setting parameters and implementing controls to ensure children remain safe on line. Worldwide, half or less of online parents, or 37 per cent in the UK, have set parental controls on their family computers. Around seven in 10 UK online parents are concerned about their children being approached with inappropriate content or solicitations but only four in 10 have spoken to their child on safe Internet practices, despite the UK having the highest number of children (87 per cent) claiming to be comfortable talking to their parents about their on line experiences.

Commenting on the research, Chris Kelly, Chief Privacy Officer from Facebook said: “Facebook recognizes the importance of helping parents to understand the online world that our children are growing up in and to provide practical advice on how people can replicate their offline controls, online. Our technology has been designed to replicate real-world connections online, with the ability to select personal privacy settings and provide complete user control.”

Caroline Cockerill, Norton Online Safety Advocate for Symantec, said: “The Norton Online Living Report highlights how the boundaries have blurred between the online and offline worlds and the effect this is having on our families and as individuals.”

“As parents, we need to balance our concerns about child safety online while allowing children the freedom to explore without fear of what they may find. In order to make our children’s time online as safe as possible, there are a number of recommendations to follow. Installing and constantly updating Internet security software is a key factor in helping to shield our families from a variety of unwanted materials, but the protection does not stop there. Now more than ever it is important that parents fully understand the rich online world that children have access to, and are aware of the social as well as technological measures that need to be undertaken to ensure that they are protected. This begins with an awareness of the Web sites that our children now use on a daily basis, and an open and frank discussion about the online risks which children may face.”

The Norton Online Living Report is the world’s most comprehensive report on the digital lifestyle habits of adults and children, cataloguing the astonishing migration of offline activities to the online world. The report examines data from eight countries including UK, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S., to reveal surprising cross-cultural differences, and similarities, when it comes to interacting with technology. Symantec commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct the survey to better comprehend how consumers interact with technology on a daily basis in order to understand the mindset of consumers worldwide. This detailed data will allow Symantec to hone its products, deliver targeted and streamlined services and to anticipate online threats and trends.

For more information on the Norton Online Lifestyle Report click here, or for further information on Symantec’s online safety education initiatives click here.

Key Findings

• Email has usurped the telephone as the major source of communication
• Online users in the UK and China are most likely to use their phone to send text messages
• Most online adults (except in the U.S. and Japan) spend at least one hour per month sending text messages from their mobile phones with 65 per cent in the UK spending between one and four hours engaged this way
• Brazil and China, are way ahead of the global pack when it comes to Instant Messaging (IM) with 93 per cent (Brazil) and 97 per cent (China) sending IMs at least sometimes, compared to 61 per cent of UK adults
• 40 per cent of UK children have created an online avatar versus just 21 per cent of adults. China has far and away the biggest take up of avatars – 72 per cent of adults and a massive 88 per cent of China’s children have created an online avatar at some point
• Nearly one in five adults in the world spend time on their personal blog
• In China, nearly 87 per cent of users have a personal blog versus only 19 per cent of UK users

• Half of adults globally have made friends online. Of those users, approximately 60-80 per cent have translated some of these online friendship to their offline world
• 40-60 per cent of online adults globally prefer their online friendships the same amount or more than their offline friendships
• The UK’s adults feel more comfortable than their European counterparts socialising online. Twenty eight per cent say they feel confident in doing so compared to 21 per cent in Germany and just 16 per cent in France. Globally, China leads the pack with 44 per cent of adults claiming to feel confident socialising online
• 30-40 per cent of online children have made friends online

• UK adults spend an average of 40 hours per month online, almost double that of their children who spend 24 hours online. The average Chinese adult spends a reported 100 hours online
• Online gaming has become enormously popular, with 97 per cent of online children and 65 per cent of online adults in the UK playing games online
• Over half (55 per cent) of Britain’s adult online community owns a digital music player and 58 per cent download music from the Internet. Marginally more (65 per cent) of its online children download music from the Internet
• People in the UK are by far the largest users of online travel sites, with 81 per cent booking their travel online. Australia is second to the UK with 67 per cent

• The Internet exceeds the offline world as a source of key information about the world we live in
• The vast majority of online children in the world use the Internet to help with schoolwork with the exception of Japan (77 per cent). The UK is third highest with 95 per cent of responding children using the Internet for schoolwork
• Most online adults spend at least one hour per month both reading news from online sites/blogs and from a print outlet
• Online beauty and fashion advice has become popular globally with nearly 3 to 4 in 10 online users seeking advice

• The UK is ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to shopping online, with 96 per cent of adults responding that they shop online at least sometimes. Germany is second to the UK, with 93 per cent. China (86 per cent) and Brazil (80 per cent) had the lowest positive responses
• Half of all global online users feel confident shopping online
• The UK is way ahead in terms of confidence when using the Internet to shop. Seventy eight per cent of UK adults feel confident shopping online. The US is second to the UK, with 63 per cent
• Compared to their parents, the UK’s children have significantly less confidence in shopping online with just 32 per cent feeling confident or very confident shopping online. China’s children are the most confident online shoppers – 69 per cent offering positive responses

• Banking is a popular Internet pastime for adults worldwide. China (87 per cent) and the UK (85 per cent) lead the way
• 54 per cent of Brits manage financial investments online

• Although the majority of online adults and children have received some level of violation (from minor spam emails to major hack attempts) and express concern about online safety, most users do not take enough steps to protect themselves online
• 12 per cent of UK online adults and 15 per cent of UK online children say they feel confident surfing the Web without any security software
• The majority of adult users worldwide have installed security software but few go beyond basic steps such as changing passwords frequently, using multiple email addresses and surfing only on trusted sites
• Just half of UK adults use complex passwords to protect their Internet security
• One in ten UK online adults have had someone use their credit card online without approval – the highest in the world
• Thirteen per cent of UK adults have experienced someone trying to break into their computer remotely compared to 43 per cent in China and 23 per cent in Australia

• While the majority of parents recognise online threats to their children, most underestimate the prevalence of these threats and far fewer are taking actionable steps such as setting parental controls
• 72 per cent of British parents say they worry about their child being approached with inappropriate content or solicitations online. China and France were the highest scoring nations in the survey with over 90 per cent of parents concerned
• Just 37 per cent of UK online parents have set parental controls on their family computer
• Almost a quarter (20 per cent) of British parents have ‘spied’ on their child’s online usage and only eight per cent have caught their child doing something they don’t approve of
• There is a disconnect between the number of British adults who think their child has received requests for personal information online (just four per cent) and the number of children who say they have been approached with such a request (25 per cent). Almost one in ten (eight per cent) UK children have received inappropriate materials via the Internet that made them feel uncomfortable
• Nineteen per cent of UK children say they do things online that they know their parents would disapprove of. That figure is even higher in China with 55 per cent responding in the positive

About the Survey

The survey was conducted online by third-party research firm, Harris Interactive, and returned a total of 4,687 adult and 2,717 child responses. All respondents spend at least one hour per month online and were surveyed in their native language across eight countries (U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, China and Japan). The adult (18 and over) and child (8 to 17) samples were both weighted to be representative of the population of online adults and children for each individual country.

The overall study entailed 15-minute interviews among adults and 5-minute interviews among children. Questions asked were identical across all countries, with some overlap between the adult and children surveys.