Many kids have a negative online experience

Kids around the globe are growing up in an online world, learning to navigate not just the Web, but new rules, emotions and unfortunately, some negative experiences.

The Norton Online Family Report is a good reminder for parents to plug into their kids’ online lives, if they have not already. As social media gains more presence in the digital world, a new but real threat to kids online in Hong Kong today lies in stranger danger.

The study uncovered a startling trend – up to 64 percent of children have had strangers try to add them as a friend on a social networking site, and 30 percent have encountered an online stranger who has tried to meet them in the ‘real world’.

The Web has become a new ‘playground’ for cybercriminals to prey on active young Internet users and anyone who goes online is vulnerable. With 85 percent of children in Hong Kong having been exposed to negative experiences online, the victims are also accompanied with a range of powerful emotions that have impacted them. Kids in Hong Kong felt angry (35 percent), annoyed (31 percent), afraid (27 percent), fearful (26 percent) and confused (25 percent) as a result of such incidents.

If something goes wrong online, children do turn to adults for help, support and advice. In Hong Kong, parents are the first port of call for children if they are threatened with physical harm in real life (41 percent) or if someone was threatening them online (35 percent).

While kids are aware of many common sense rules for staying safe online, they are missing some important pieces of the puzzle. Only 15 percent always check for the ‘s’ after the ‘http’ in the URL and just one in four use a software or a plug-in which gives users safety advice about websites to block risky websites.

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