Intel Security survey discloses family challenges as connected lifestyle grows

Intel Security released Tuesday findings from a recent global study, “New Family Dynamics in a Connected World,” which aims to better comprehend how families’ attitudes and habits are evolving as their homes and lifestyles become increasingly connected.

This study underscores the need for simple ways for parents to manage internet connectivity in their homes – from blocking inappropriate sites to controlling the amount of time users spend on their devices to disconnecting to the internet entirely from time to time.

Despite their concern of online risks and living a digitally led lifestyle, parents tend to use older methods to monitor their children’s device usage. Thirty-five percent of parents admitted to monitoring their child’s device usage by keeping the device in their possession and giving it to them only when they were around, while only 23 percent admit to using software to monitor activity. Eighty percent of parents are concerned about their child potentially interacting with a social predator or cybercriminal online.

Bedtime habits have changed a lot since the introduction of smartphones and tablets. Seventy-six percent of parents allow their child to bring an internet-connected device to bed.

Parents are concerned about who their children are interacting with online, as well as monitoring how much time they spend in front of a screen. Forty-eight percent of parents allow their child to have 1-2 hours of screen time per day, and 20 percent allow their child less than one hour a day.

Unfortunately, parents can’t be there all the time to monitor the device usage. In fact, 34 percent of parents claim they have discovered that their child visited an inappropriate website on their device. Thirty-two percent of survey participants stated that they have argued with their child about bringing a device to bed.

Conversely, kids aren’t the only ones who are using devices when they shouldn’t: Approximately 36 percent of parents surveyed also claimed that their child has called them out for being on their device during family time.

Parents understand the importance of talking to their children about the potential dangers on the internet, with roughly 85 percent having addressed the risks with their children at some point.

Intel Security urges parents to start talking with their children about online safety. It will make the job easier when the children get older. If kids are young, start with simple rules like “don’t open emails from people you don’t know.”

It’s easy to get caught up spending a lot of time on devices, with kids picking up the habits – both good and bad. Parents set a positive example by limiting time on social networks when at home and putting the phone away during dinner and family time. Most children have been using devices from an early age, desensitizing them to the potentials risks of online behavior. A false sense of security can set in for children and they could be unknowingly interacting with a social predator or dangerous person posing as a teen (catfish).

The home network is the hub for all of connected devices. New solutions, such as McAfee Secure Home Platform, help manage and protect devices connected to this network while providing parental controls with permissions that can be tailored to the entire household.

Intel Security expects the rise in popularity of the smart home and its connected devices. In fact, Gartner forecasts that “there will be more than 10.5 billion ‘things’ in homes by 2020,” which will create a potential risk that the devices and personal data that flow from them can be compromised.

While internet-connected devices offer consumers new opportunities, they can also come with some drawbacks and potential risks that can be the detriment of relationships.

“While there is tremendous excitement for the conveniences that today’s technology brings, we know the weakest link in those devices within a connected home put consumers at risk,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security. “We must empower parents to actively manage how their families interact with those devices. When the correct security and privacy measures are taken, consumers will feel more protected enabling them to fully enjoy all the benefits of living in a smart home.”

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