AVG Technologies Survey: Majority of Children in the U.S. Have Their Own Connected Device Before Seventh Grade

Research finds lack of oversight of children's online activity

AVG® Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the online security company™ for more than 200 million monthly active users, today released the results of an online survey conducted on its behalf by Harris Poll. The survey examines how closely parents are managing their children's internet activity and connected device usage. AVG found that 72 percent of U.S. parents with children aged 3-17 say their child received their first own connected device (such as smartphone, tablet, e-reader, or laptop), before seventh grade. One in two "connected" children, or 51 percent, received their first device before fifth grade.

Connected devices have become increasingly popular among K-12 students, causing parents and school boards to grapple with constantly evolving use policies both inside and outside of the classroom. However, inside the home, parents have control over their child's access to connected devices and AVG believes parents have a responsibility to ensure their children are secure and protected from the dangers of the internet. When asked whether parents have had the 21st century style "talk" about internet security, AVG's survey shows parents are on the right track, but can do better:
  • Nearly 3 in 4 (72 percent) parents of children aged 3-17 that own their own connected device have proactively spoken to their children about the dangers of the internet
  • But just over half (56 percent) know the password to their children's connected device(s)
  • And only 41 percent have installed a parental block on those devices.
There is additional room for improvement when it comes to parents' routine monitoring of their child's text messages, browser history, social media activity and photos. Only half of parents of children aged 3-17 (51 percent) cite that they check their child's activity at least weekly, with about one in five checking their activity less than once a month or not at all (19 percent).

"We've undertaken several studies recently to make parents more aware of the current digital environment that their children are immersed in," said Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist at AVG Technologies and author of From One Parent to Another, a book for teenagers. "This survey shows that while the majority of parents have proactively discussed the dangers of the internet with their children, the numbers suggest that many parents are not engaged in knowing what their children are really doing on their devices."

With the understanding that children are now receiving their connected devices earlier than ever, AVG suggests that parents follow these best practices:
  1. Have an open and ongoing discussion on the potential dangers of the internet with your child: As technology's role in their life becomes more and more prevalent, children must understand that their connected device is like a power tool – very useful but also potentially dangerous. AVG offers free eBooks to help children navigate the internet with guidance from their parents.
  2. Have a transparency policy with your child and their device(s): While passwords are crucial to keeping your child's device protected from strangers, you the parent are not a stranger. Check out AVG's Free Online Safety Guide for Parents to help them become more informed, vigilant, and available when it comes to their children's online safety.
  3. Use built in parental features and other safety measures already on the device(s): Look to see if the browser or phone has parental settings that can be enabled. Use these features to set your child's use and access to what is acceptable to you. There are many other ways to proactively protect your child and their device(s) and AVG put together a Parent's Guide to Early Years Online to keep parents informed.
  4. Make sure the devices have protection from malware: AVG provides free and paid solutions for Android, PC & Mac that can all be managed through AVG Zen. To download AVG Zen for free, go to www.avg.com/zen.
You can download all the free e-books mentioned above at www.avg.com/ebooks.

For further details on the research, please view their Press Kit, which includes video elements of this story, at http://now.avg.com/back-to-school-press-kit/

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of AVG from August 5-12, 2015 among 893 parents of children ages 3-17, of whom 744 say they child has a connected device. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact deanna.contreras@avg.com.

About AVG Technologies (NYSE: AVG)
AVG is the online security company providing leading software and services to secure devices, data and people. AVG's award-winning technology is delivered to over 200 million monthly active users worldwide. AVG's Consumer portfolio includes internet security, performance optimization, and personal privacy and identity protection for mobile devices and desktops. The AVG Business portfolio - delivered by managed service providers, VARs and resellers - offers IT administration, control and reporting, integrated security, and mobile device management that simplify and protect businesses.

SOURCE AVG Technologies N.V.
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