For teenagers, the internet is mainly a medium of entertainment, access to culture (music, films, etc.), and a center of social life. It is also a source of many benefits - from broadening knowledge in a specific field, to the possibility of creating a personal image or seeking identity. Despite its benefits, the internet is still a source of many threats.
Children use the internet mainly to play games, listen to music, and watch movies. Educational services and instant messaging are also popular activities. The most popular social networking sites among children are YouTube and Facebook. When asked about the type of content they post on social media, children most often indicated posts and comments, and their photo. A significant proportion of them also included photos with their relatives.
Risks in using the internet
An increasing number of crimes (hacking, intrusions, theft), censorship, limiting access to internet resources, and imposing additional charges for online services dominate among school students' digital fears. The most significant risks from children's use of the internet were inappropriate content (e.g., pornography, violence) and contact by people pretending to be someone else. The biggest threats to children were websites infected with viruses and the negative impact on social relations.
Students are aware of the risks they may face on the internet. However, knowledge about the legality of individual actions on the internet varies. Teenagers are the most common victims of abuse, ridicule, and humiliation. In most homes, no rules are limiting the duration of internet use or regulating the selection of content that teenagers can access.
The majority of parents believe that there is too much violence, sex, and swearing on the internet. One of the most common risks of internet abuse is the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect, which affects an increasing number of young internet users every year.
Protection against cyber threats
Still, an insufficient number of parents admit to the use of parental control in the context of the child's internet access.
Children's responses show that parents' use of technology to protect against cyber threats was rare. It is also worth noting that the percentage of children who did not know about the use of protection methods by parents was relatively high. On average, every fifth child did not know whether his or her parents used parental protection software.
Parents are not always aware that their child does not know how to use the internet safely. The most frequently cited reason why a child does not use the internet was the negative impact of the internet on personal development. Some parents pointed to the possibility of exposure to inappropriate content, others to insufficient skills among children in terms of online searches.
There's no privacy on the internet. Even if, it depends on the ability to control both the amount of information you provide and the access to it. The most popular form of protecting children's privacy is using multi-stage logins and deleting the search engine history, and yet, this is not sufficient. Few users regularly change their passwords to e-mail accounts and social networking sites.
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