Nearly 40% of the children, from fourth to eighth graders, in America have formed connections with at least one stranger online, as per a new survey conducted. This survey was taken by the Cyber Education and Safety Center, in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton. The purpose of the researchers was to ascertain if kids are using the internet in absence of parental supervision, if they are aware of internet safety basics and have been taught about the same, along with the apps and websites they use or visit and the nature of their interactions when it came to strangers.
Of this 40 %, it was discovered by the study that greater than half gave their phone numbers to strangers, a fifth talked to strangers over voice calls and around 11 % proceeded to even meet up with a stranger at their own residence, a park, the home of the stranger, a restaurant or mall. The survey concluded that a majority of the parents fail to frequently monitor the social media activity of their children including sites like Facebook. Although, most parents have an inkling that their child may use the services of internet at times in a way they might not approve of, they do not always account their children as responsible, in particular the younger ones, for such behavior. According to recommendations by the researchers, parents should have more tools that can explain the way in which the digital behavior of their kids can be monitored. Further, there is also a dire need for school administrators and teachers to take up their respective roles in the education of young children regarding the appropriate use of internet.
As per the report, organizations that are interested in this field should keep developing strategies for reducing online risk, while keeping the children safe. Although these threats have been jotted down earlier, there is the need to make today’s children and parents more conversant in them.