The stranger danger scare easily applies to a random creepy person your kid might run into on the street. Most kids know better than to go near them. But what happens when a friend — someone they’ve been opening up to for months, building a solid, trusting emotional relationship — wants to meet in real life? How does a parent deal with classmates who’ve created a group on social media dedicated solely to humiliating, embarrassing, and spreading rumors about their child?
This is where you’ll learn all the most recent information on internet safety for kids and the real scale of potential threats. We collected information from reputable sources: comparative studies with over 100,000 participants, government websites, child protective services, and cybersecurity companies. In addition, we examined all aspects of children’s online behavior, including smartphone ownership, time spent online, time spent on social networks, and positive as well as negative online experiences.
We took notice of the demographics: data on kids’, tweens’, and teens’ age, gender, and country, including the US, China, Brazil, and Italy. You’ll see detailed descriptions of kids’ exposure to the most common online threats, including cyberbullying, scams, adult content, and online predators.
We also listed just how aware both kids and parents are of issues like online safety for kids, cyberbullying, and children’s overall online presence. Do kids turn to their parents when they need help with online harassment? Do parents talk to their kids about how to stay safe online? Do they use parental control software? To what degree?
We conclude with some tips on staying safe on the internet. We also included tools and resources that can help you monitor and optimize your kids’ online behavior. We want to help them make the most of the internet without falling victim to its many pitfalls.
Before We Begin
Your child needs you to keep them safe. If there’s one duty that every single parent takes seriously, it’s keeping their child’s well-being intact. But in the world of easily accessible fast internet connections and the ever-growing plague of cyberbullying, keeping them secure online isn’t always an easy task. You can’t be everywhere at the same time, nor can you really control every tiny aspect of your child’s life. So, how can you make sure they’re okay even when you’re not around?
Enter, parental monitoring systems.
Children and Online Safety — Giving Them A Safe Digital Space Through Monitoring Apps
Before we give you the statistics, we want to reassure you first — you can keep your youngest ones out of harm’s way, as long as you invest some effort in their online safety. One of the best ways to remain a comforting presence even in your child’s virtual world are parent monitoring apps. For example, apps such as Bosco are aimed at predicting and preventing threats to children’s safety online.
Bosco is a special app with an AI-powered system that monitors children’s activity and alerts parents to potential threats or dangers. One of the reasons we like Bosco is because this is one of the few apps out there which actually take children’s age, gender, and cultural habits into consideration. The app uses data analytics to predict threats, and yet it’s not a spy app — it actually respects your child’s privacy. It doesn’t limit content or usage time that children have access to because that’s up to the parent. Bosco only analyzes patterns, habits, and overall data, and sends out alerts to potential danger that might be lurking online. Also — any information that the app collects is deleted after sending an alert, so it can never be abused.
Monitoring apps are generally a good idea because they strike a balance between giving children their freedom and over-controlling everything they do. It’s parental control at its finest because it never goes overboard, and yet it helps you keep your child completely safe.
Top Child Safety Statistics To Takeaway
70% of kids encounter sexual or violent content online while doing homework research
17% of tweens (age 8-12) received an online message with photos or words that made them feel uncomfortable, only 7% of parents were aware of this
65% of 8-14 year-olds have been involved in a cyberbullying incident
36% of girls and 31% of boys have been bullied online
16% of high school students have considered suicide because of cyberbullying
75% of children would share personal information online in exchange for goods and services
How To Keep Kids Safe online Statistics
The Threat: How Can We Keep Children Safe from Online Predators?
1. 1 out of 7 children have sent messages with sexual content, while 1 in 4 admit they’ve received these kinds of messages.
A 2018 study came to these worrying conclusions. In 39 studies (with 110 ,380 participants), kids aged 11 to 17 were surveyed. A sext can include language, photos, or videos featuring sexual content. These kids’ unwitting decisions can ruin lives, and damage their self-esteem, even future career prospects. This is why they need to understand how to be safe on the internet.
Sometimes kids send pictures consensually, but after a breakup or a disagreement, a friend or a boyfriend can post them online. The aggressor’s motivation could be revenge, pettiness, jealousy, or even a minor disagreement. Once the explicit pics are on the web, users can download them, take screenshots, and forward them.
2. 20% of teenagers have sent or posted nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves.
According to Guard Child, 26% of teenagers don’t believe that the person to whom they sent the pics will forward them to someone else. This trust is so complete that 15% of teens have sent or posted this objectionable content to someone they only knew online. A number of online friends can turn out to be adults, adults posing as kids, classmates, or ex-partners who end up harboring a grudge.
3. 11% of young teen girls aged 13–16 have sent or posted nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves.
Kids as young as 13 are particularly vulnerable when it comes to outside influence. This includes strangers who’ve built a relationship with them over time, as well as their peers and classmates. Kids seek approval, and this need sometimes outweighs common sense. One of the main conversations you need to have with your kid, therefore, will start with the obvious question, “Why is internet safety important?” Explain the far-reaching consequences of their actions, and help them understand how to protect themselves.
4. The prevalence of forwarding a sext to others without consent is 12%, while only 8.4% of kids admitted someone forwarded a sext to them.
So much for trust, right? It turns out that peers and even adults posing as peers can ask for explicit pictures of teenagers and then forward them to others without their consent. If you care about how to keep your kids safe online and on their phones, you must consider this stat.
What’s worse, many kids don’t realize that this is illegal. According to the Department of Justice and Crime Prevention, “if a child aids, abets, induces, incites, instigates, instructs, commands, counsels, or procures another child to take and send such a photo of the latter to the first child or another person, he or she will be guilty of an offense.”
A conviction may lead to a hefty fine, but that’s not the worst part. In particularly nasty cases, a conviction might lead to imprisonment or even registration with the National Register for Sex Offenders. Sometimes, cyber safety for kids includes making sure your kid is neither the victim nor the aggressor.
5. Suicide is the second most common cause of death in adolescents aged 15–19.
Kids are in more danger of killing themselves than of dying of any sort of disease. The “deal with it” or “get over it” attitude can only take you so far. In fact, cyberbullying and harassment have conclusively been linked to depression. Regardless of your attitude, the numbers show that internet safety for kids should be on every parent’s mind.
According to a 2018 paper by Young Minds, young people who use social media are most vulnerable to a low sense of well-being, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. In 2012, 15-year-old Audrie Pott commit suicide after she had been sexually assaulted at a party eight days prior. The boys who assaulted her posted nude pictures of her online, and accompanied them with bullying and cyberbullying.
Her death was one of the tragedies that started an avalanche, making people around the US face the real danger of cyberbullying and address how to keep kids safe online. In 2016, a documentary titled Audrie and Daisy, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, detailing the experiences of Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, a girl with similar experiences who lived.
If you, your friends, your child, or your friend’s child are experiencing any of the types of bullying or cyberbullying we’ve discussed, you can get support by calling a suicide hotline number or the national suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) or by using their chat option, available 24/7 across the US. Trained, experienced individuals will offer compassion, advice, and useful resources.