The results of the Growing Up Online – Connected Kids survey conducted by Kaspersky Lab and iconKids&youth show that boys and girls aged 8-16 behave very differently on the Internet, meaning different approaches are required to keep them safe. This is useful information for parents who want to protect their children against online threats.
Girls like to use smartphones, while boys prefer computers and game consoles. Boys are generally more likely to be addicted to computer games: they cite them more often in their list of daily online activities, while girls opt for communication on social networks and instant messengers. When it comes to their preferred method of communication, girls cite calls and messages more often, which is unsurprising considering their love of smartphones.
Probably due to their sociability, girls tend to choose family members or friends more often as a source of information, while boys rely more on the Internet for news. Boys are also more likely than girls to think they know how to use the Internet and how to protect themselves online.
At the same time, according to the survey, boys are less inhibited on the Internet than girls: they provide lots of personal information on social networking sites and pretend to be older than they really are. They also try to bypass parental controls on their devices and hide information about online activity from their parents. And there is something to hide – according to their own admission, boys are more likely than girls to access content that is inappropriate for children.
“The research shows that parents of boys should pay close attention to what their sons are doing online. They need to use up-to-date parental controls that can’t be bypassed in order to safeguard their madcap boys from unwanted or dangerous information, for example, games that are not intended for children. Meanwhile, moms and dads of girls need to pay more attention to whom their daughters are communicating with online. Social networks and messengers are often used by dubious characters with ulterior motives to worm their way into a child’s confidence,” advises Andrei Mochola, Head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.