Children as young as eight (tweens) are adopting technology faster than expected, particularly social networking, with 67 per cent revealing they are currently using a social media site. They are also more advanced in their device usage with between three and four internet enabled devices being used by tweens at any one time.
Of those tweens using devices, twoDthirds are on mobiles and tablets for approximately 1.5 hours per day and 42 per cent are using this time to chat with friends. Yet despite the age eligibility for Facebook being 13 years old, 1 in 4 tweens admit to currently using Facebook.
Released at a roundtable discussion with Senator The Hon. Stephen Conroy Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Week, the report titled Tweens, Teens and Technology Report is an extension of the McAfee Secret Life of Teens report last year and was commissioned to identify the online behaviour gaps between tweens, teens and parents in the digital world.
So while it’s a message for parents to take note, perhaps one of the most surprising findings is that it’s the parents who are giving permission for their child to be on social media. 92 per cent of tweens said that they are friends with their parents on Facebook and a further 95 per cent said they had their parents permission to be on there.
Commenting on the report Andrew Littleproud, President, McAfee Asia Pacific said, “The findings are a welcome spotlight on tweens2. With the national rollout of the NBN and the increase use of devices by our younger audience in the homes, both parents and schools are encouraged to keep a close monitor on their child’s online behaviour to ensure they have safe online experiences.
“By working closely with child psychologists, we have seen that online behaviours become entrenched in the tween age group so proactive education is critical within 8D12 age bracket,” Mr Littleproud continued.
Tween Usage Trends
- Skype is the most popular social website for tweens, with 28 per cent using the site
- Club Penguin is also a prominent site with 22 per cent of tweens on there
- Instagram is also now on the radar of tweens with 10 per cent using it for social media and to publish images
- Despite the age eligibility for Facebook (13 years old), 1 in 4 (26%) of tweens are currently using Facebook
Stranger Danger and Risky Online Behaviour
- • Worryingly, risky online behaviour is starting young:
- 1 in 5 tweens said they chatted to someone online that they didn’t know
- 2 in 5 (39%) of tweens are currently using a risky password
- Whilst only 7 per cent of tweens are sharing personal information online
- 21 per cent of tween Instagram users do not know all of the people they are friends with and sharing their personal photo’s with
For an eight year old child, cyber bullying is already becoming an issue with 25 per cent saying they have witnessed nasty comments online directed at them or their friend and interestingly, as a tween gets older and into their teen age years (11D12 years old), 38 per cent said they had been exposed to cyber bullying.
However, in a positive direction, both younger and older tweens will tell their parents if they have been exposed to risky behaviour with 71 per cent of tweens saying they told their parents.
From Tween to Teen
- In a direct comparison to both pieces of research, the age for accessing social networking sites is lowering as teens3 said their first encounter with social media was not actually until the age of 13
- Cyber bullying becomes an even bigger issue once a tween enters their teenage years with half of all teens (53 per cent) being exposed to cyber bullying
- Although tweens are good at keeping parents informed, this generally dries up in teenage years with only 38 per cent of teens saying they told their parents
- 6 per cent of teens have gone one step further than their tween counterparts by actually meeting up with a stranger who they met online
“Both reports we have conducted have given us such a rich window into the daily digital life of a tween and teen. We can now make direct comparisons of both audiences and focus on the big watchDouts we have uncovered,” Mr Littleproud said.
Leading parenting expert with a PHD in psychology, Dr. Justin Coulson, said the findings are surprising and encouraging at the same time, “Both research and experience are confirming that the personal impact that online pressures can have on these age groups from an emotional and developmental perspective is enormous.“While it’s surprising to see just how integrated tweens are with the online social world, it’s encouraging to see that their parents are involved both online and offline. I am hopeful that these findings will highlight the need for both parents and educators to start having positive conversations with their children,” Dr. Coulson concluded.McAfee cybermum and mum of four boys in both tween and teen age group, Alex MertonDMcCann echoed Dr. Coulson’s comments and said it’s a good time for parents to embrace the online world.
“I know the online world can be scary for parents, trust me I’ve been there but having genuine twoDway communication with your children is absolutely fundamental to establishing a safe and positive cyber experience,” Alex concluded.
Closing commentary on the report, Mr Littleproud said, “Parents, educators and government, we all need to work together to deliver positive education and experiences that can help shape the online future of our young children.
“So McAfee is working hand-in-hand with government, police, educators and parents to address cyber education and as part of this on-going commitment, we have partnered with Life Education to launch a new module called bCyberwise which is aimed at educating children in schools across Australia, “ Mr Littleproud contined.
Since launching in February this year, the cyber education program has been incredibly well received in schools across the nation with over 21,000 students being educated on cyber safety during the first term.
The new bCyberwise module expands the Life Education Program that currently reaches over 620,000 primary school children across Australia
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Fact Sheet Overview
A data comparison of two key audiences McAfee surveyed (tweens and teens) to uncover insights about their online behaviours and to identify gaps in their knowledge which can be bridged through cyber safety education.
• Tweens: 8-12 year olds
• Teens: 13-17 year olds
On average, tweens are using between 3 and 4 devices that can be internet enabled
• 66% of tweens are using mobiles and/or tablets
• Mobile devices are also demanding a high degree of tweens’ attention. Music players (65% use more than 1hr a day) and tablets (54% use more than 1hr a day)
77% of tweens are using their devices to access the internet
• Tweens are accessing it for approximately 1.5 hours each day
• The internet can be hard for parents to control with almost half (48%) of tween internet users accessing it on a mobile device
• 27% of all tweens are using their devices to send and receive pictures online
• Gaming and homework are the main usage occasions for devices
• 42% of all tweens are using their devices to chat to friends
Social media starts in the tween years; 67% of tweens are using a social media website
• Skype is the most popular social website for tweens, with 28% using the site
• Despite the age eligibility for Facebook (13 years old), 1 in 4 (26%) of tweens are currently using Facebook
• This use is generally approved by parents, with 95% having parental approval
• Teens claim the average age of opening their first social network account is at the age of 13.
And 27% of teens surveyed were actually under 13 years of age
• 46% of teens claim they were helped by their parents when setting up one of their account
• 92% of tween Facebook users are ‘friends’ with their parents online. This is generally child led, with 65% of tween Facebook users asking their parents to be their friend
• 13% of tween Facebook users aren’t familiar with all the people they are friends with
• Half of tweens (49%) do not know all the people that they follow on Club Penguin
Risky online behaviour starts young
• 1 in 5 (19%) tweens have chatted to someone online that they did not know previously
• 6% of teens had met up with a total stranger
• 2 in 5 (39%) of tweens are currently using a risky password. Whilst only 7% of tweens are sharing personal information online, 75% of teens are sharing information
• 21% of tween Instagram users do not know all of the people they are friends with Cyber Bullying is an issue for tweens, 25% have seen a nasty comment online
• Most parents of tweens are aware of this with 71% of tweens who encountered online cruelty told their parents
• 76% of tweens are continuing to use the website that they saw the nasty comment on
• Cyber bullying becomes an even bigger issue once a tween enters their teenage years; half of all teens 53% are exposed to cyber bullying
• Although tweens are good at keeping parents informed, this generally dries up in teenage years with only 38% of teens who encountered cyber bullying told their parents
Risky behaviour and exposure to online cruelty increases as the tweens get older
• 77% of 11 to 12 year olds using social media and more than 34% on Facebook
• 25% of 11 to 12 year olds have chatted to someone that they did not know previously
• 38% of 11 to 12 year olds have been exposed to online cruelty. Encouragingly they are still telling their parents about this at this age
Parents are pretty good at placing limits on tween internet usage with 80% of tweens having restrictions
• This doesn’t mean that tweens are happy with these restrictions, 51% are frustrated by these rules
• 8pm is a popular time for children to be online until, with 77% turning off by 8pm or earlier
• This does however mean that 1 in 4 is still online after 8pm; 9% are online until 10pm or later
• 62% of tweens would not miss their mobile phone if they went without it for a day
• However, the internet is a different story with 52% stating they would miss it very much if they had to go without it for a day
In 2013 TNS & McAfee conducted research into tweens online behaviours
In 2012 TNS and McAfee studied teens and parents to see what they are doing online and if there was a gap between what kids & parents say.
Sample Tweens Report 2013
• N= 500 tweens between 8-12 interviewed
• Geographically representative of Australian online population
Teens Report 2012
• N= 500 teens between 13-17 interviewed
• N= 250 Boys, 250 Girls
• N= 500 parents interviewed
• Geographically representative of Australian online population
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