In a GFI Software survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents, 12% say they would use location tracking to monitor their spouse’s whereabouts, while 31% of respondents say they would track where their teen goes on a Friday night. More than half (59%) also say they would use such a service to make sure their children were safe or in the location they are supposed to be.
Key highlights from the survey include:
- At least one quarter of consumers in both the 16 to 24 (29%) and 25 to 34 (25%) age groups use a smartphone or tablet as their primary means of accessing the Internet or checking email.
- Identity theft ranked only fourth among the key concerns respondents would have if their phone was lost or stolen. Consumers report that the hassle and cost of buying a new phone, replacing their contact lists and losing memorable photos are more significant concerns.
- 35% of consumers believe their personal data is easily replaceable or does not pose a security risk to them.
- One in three respondents believe that either their service carrier or their phone manufacturer is responsible for securing data stored on their smartphones.
“This research shows that younger generations are increasingly turning to mobile devices as their go-to-source for communicating and browsing the Web, yet there is still a profound lack of understanding among consumers of all ages about the value of the personal data stored on these devices, as well as confusion over who is responsible for securing them,” said Mark Patton, general manager, Security Business Unit at GFI Software.
Children’s smartphone use is another grey area among consumers. Parents may be extremely vigilant in monitoring their children’s Internet use in the home, but with mobile devices, kids can now communicate with anyone and access the Internet from anywhere without parental supervision. As such, monitoring children’s smartphone use is now just as important as monitoring their activity on a PC or laptop.
However, survey results reveal varying opinions when it comes to the age respondents think is critical for parents to begin doing so – under 10 (17%), 10-12 (18%), 12-14 (13%), 14-16 (6%), over 16 (2%). Additionally, 38% of respondents don’t think children should own a smartphone at all.
“While smartphones and tablets can present a number of risks if they aren’t adequately protected, they can also help parents improve their children’s safety in ways not previously possible,” continued Patton. “Parents can prevent unsolicited communications with activity monitoring, make sure their children are where they’re supposed to be with location tracking, and leverage a variety of other applications that enable them to keep their kids safe 24/7 – not just when they are by their side.”