Internet Savvy: Stay Connected--And Smart

Both parents and kids are spending (much) more time online. Here's how to stay safe while encouraging good habits.

February 2, 2017

Kids are spending hours a day online. Here's how to teach them to be safe as they browse the web.

More Time Online

Intel Security recently did a study of over 13,000 parents about the behavior of their kids; how often they are online and what they're doing when they're connected. "The study revealed interesting statistics," says Bruce Snell, Cyber Security and Privacy Director of Intel Security. "One that stood out is that respondents said they were guilty of spending as much time on their devices as they do interacting with their family. 36% of people said they had been called out by their kids for spending too much time on their devices. That sort of behavior bleeds into the kids behavior."

The study also revealed that 48% of people said their kids spend 1-2 hours every day online and 20% of those people said their kids spend 3-4 hours online. Which begs the question: How to monitor their time on the web?

Bedtime Browsing

These numbers mean that staying connected means being on devices is bleeding into bedtime. According to survey, 76% of people said their kids take their devices to bed with them. About 32% said they regularly argue with their kids bout taking their devices to bed. "When I was a kid it was hiding under the covers with a flashlight with a book but now it is a device that is connected to the internet. As a parent it becomes difficult to monitor all this," says Snell.

How is a parent to deal with this new digital age? "The advice I give is to start early on. Start with good behavior and policies that the kid should follow. Think about it like teaching someone to ride a bike. When teach a kid to ride a bike teach them that they need to ride a helmet. You tell them that part of riding a bike is wearing a helmet so take that same approach when talking about cyber security," he suggests.

Stay Safe

For example? Says Snell: "When you go online make sure you don't open emails from people you don't know. Don't click on links that are suspicious or look funny. Don't share too much personal information on social media. Put this as the norm so kids don't see it so much as a rule but as part of how they normally interact online. Establishing that base early on is a really good way to make sure your kids stay safe."

Find the survey data as well as a lot more information about how to stay safe online by going to, which has posts from Snell and his colleagues talking about regular security topics such as how to spot a fishing email or how to update your devices.


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