New statistics[1] from Norton by Symantec have revealed that Australian parents may be struggling when it comes to cyber safety, with more than half of Aussie mums and dads with digital native children confessing they are unsure of the correct way to raise them in a digital world.


The release of the findings coincides with Safer Internet Day today, an initiative driven in Australia by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, which is a reminder to parents that they can inspire positive change and teach children how to navigate the online world safely by developing four critical skills, known as the 4Rs: Respect, Responsibility, Reasoning and Resilience.

“Responsible internet use starts at home, and parents have an opportunity to teach their kids how to be wary and smart around online dangers,” said Mark Gorrie, Director, Consumer Business – ANZ, Norton by Symantec. “At Norton, our goal is to help Aussie parents remove fear from the online world by taking back control. That’s why we’re so supportive of Safer Internet Day and proudly advocate for Australian families to be smart, safe, and secure online.”

With that in mind, Norton by Symantec’s findings have revealed that cyber bullying looms largest in the minds of parents, with almost three quarters (74%) worrying their children will encounter abuse. In addition, seven in ten parents (71%) fear their children will find themselves in dangerous situations online and not know how to respond, while almost six in ten parents (57%) agree that technology does not generally encourage positive behaviour.

These parents’ fears are not unfounded, with past incidents influencing one in two households’ internet usage rules and seven in ten parents agreeing that technology isolates children in the home and limits the amount of time families spend together.

To combat this, Australian mums and dads are drawing on the broader community of parents, schools, and cyber security experts for information on the best way to keep their children safe. Almost three in five (58%) look to others for guidance on how to make sure that they have the best protection online, and most parents are also heavily influenced by the default settings in parental control software (72%) and devices (72%).

“Aussie parents are doing their best to keep their kids safe in a difficult and fast-moving digital environment, but we all need a little help now and again,” said Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner. “Safer Internet Day is a timely reminder for parents to model healthy habits and positive online behaviours for their children, as they would in any other element of life.”

Norton by Symantec recognises that as an industry leader it has a part to play in encouraging online safety and sharing responsible digital habits. By adopting Norton by Symantec’s top digital wellness tips, Aussies can celebrate Safer Internet Day by starting to build the 4R skills and helping ensure the safety of themselves and their family online:

Educate your child about online safety.

Don’t just tell them to be careful, show them why they should be cautious online. One of the best ways to approach this is to regularly do something with your child online that they enjoy doing (e.g. play a video game together or search online for something that interests you both). Enjoy the time together but also use this as a time to explain where the risks are as you see them (e.g. advertising, video game chat rooms, social media risks). Use a tool such as Norton Family Premier to monitor usage while having these positive and educational experiences. Parents can also visit the Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s iParent portal for educational resources on online safety.

Focus on screen time quality.

Often, we think of healthy technology use in terms of time, but quality screen time is just as important. Thirty minutes spent creating artwork on screen could be more valuable than thirty minutes spent playing a video game. Aim for quality and guide your child to use technology in positive ways.Protection against cybercriminals via the latest software updates.

Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new threats, so you need to be conscientious about ensuring all your operating systems and apps are up to date with the latest versions and patches to help address any security vulnerabilities that could expose you to a cyberattack.

Teach your kids about phishing. 
You may be savvy enough to know not to click on a suspicious link that’s supposedly from your bank or a friend, but does everyone in your household? Tell your kids about phishing and warn them not to click on URLs from an email or social network message. Get a security program that recognises and blocks dodgy URLs, like Norton Security Premium.

Use a password management system. 
Passwords are the primary defense against hackers for most people and it’s no secret that it’s often a flimsy one. Bolster your defense with a password management program, like Norton Password Manager. Best of all, this way you only need to remember one password.

Keep social networks more secure. 
There’s a good chance that at least one person in your house is on a social network. Unfortunately, social networks have become a draw for cybercriminals. If a friend posts something or sends you a message or link that seems out of character or too good to be true, then be wary. Your friend’s account may have been hacked.

Identify and avoid potential Wi-Fi threats.  
Wi-Fi networks are another possible entry point for hackers. At home, make sure your Wi-Fi network has a hard-to-crack password that you change regularly. Also stress the importance of avoiding public Wi-Fi networks to your kids or utilise a virtual private network (VPN) to help protect your privacy when using Wi-Fi on the go.

Don’t forget mobile devices. 
Your phone and tablet need as much security protection as your PC. Make sure you’ve got a full security solution that covers your mobile devices as well. Put a passcode on your tablets and phones, too.

Ensure you have the latest cyber security software in place to help protect your devices in and out of the home. 
Protect all your digital devices with comprehensive security software like Norton Security Premium. It can help you get peace of mind without sacrificing your family’s ability to learn and stay connected. It’s your single solution that helps protect multiple devices, including PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets.

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