Study: Risky online behavior common

June 15, 2011

(AP) -- Big companies such as Citigroup and Sony have been the targets of major hacking attacks. Yet a new survey finds that regular people are also prime and often unsuspecting targets.

Parents and their teenage children regularly engage in risky online behavior, according to the survey of U.S. commissioned by security company GFI Software.

More than half of the parents whose home computers have been infected with a virus said this has happened more than once. And while 89 percent of parents said they have antivirus software on their computers, a quarter of them said they don't know if they update it. Without updates, antivirus software is useless against the latest malicious attacks.

Of the teens who responded, 24 percent said they have visited a website meant for adults. More than half who do so said they lied about their age to get into the sites. Such sites are often designed to spread , which can infect the computers of people who visit.

"Given the potential ramifications of improper today, it would seem to merit at least the same degree of educational as other lifestyle risk categories like sex, drugs and alcohol," the report said.

The survey of 1,070 adults and their teenage children was conducted March 22 to April 5, 2011 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Among the survey's other findings:

- 11 percent of teens said they have been bullied online or by text messages. More girls reported being bullied than boys.

- 79 percent of teens said they own a mobile phone. Of this group, 29 percent said they own a smartphone.

- 76 percent of parents and 77 percent of teenagers said they are very confident or somewhat confident that their computers won't be infected by a virus.

- 65 percent of parents said their home computers have been infected.

- More than half of the households said both the parent and the teen had a Facebook account. Of these, 87 percent were "friends" with each other on the site.

- 83 percent of teenagers with Facebook accounts indicated that they understand how to use privacy settings, so they may hide content from their parents.

Explore further: Kids take more online risks at home

More information: Online: http://www.gfi.com/parent-teen-internet-safety-report

0 shares

Related Stories

Texting on the rise among US adults: Pew survey

September 3, 2010

More American adults are texting but they are not tapping out nearly as many messages per day on their cellphones as teenagers, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

Recommended for you

Inferring urban travel patterns from cellphone data

August 29, 2016

In making decisions about infrastructure development and resource allocation, city planners rely on models of how people move through their cities, on foot, in cars, and on public transportation. Those models are largely ...

How machine learning can help with voice disorders

August 29, 2016

There's no human instinct more basic than speech, and yet, for many people, talking can be taxing. 1 in 14 working-age Americans suffer from voice disorders that are often associated with abnormal vocal behaviors - some of ...

Sponge creates steam using ambient sunlight

August 22, 2016

How do you boil water? Eschewing the traditional kettle and flame, MIT engineers have invented a bubble-wrapped, sponge-like device that soaks up natural sunlight and heats water to boiling temperatures, generating steam ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.