Half of Oz teens share personal data with strangers online

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MELBOURNE - A new study has revealed that half of Australian teenagers share their personal data online with strangers.

Research conducted by Internet security firm McAfee also stated that cyber bullying is on the rise with one in five teenagers having mean or hurtful information about them posted on social networking sites.

More than half of youngsters surveyed said they had hidden their online activities from parents on at least one occasion.

Moira Cronin, a mother of two and web safety expert for McAfee, said the results were worrying for parents.

“Keeping kids safe no longer only means teaching them about the dangers of alcohol or how to deal with a school bully. This report is a wake-up call to the real dangers our teens face when they make themselves vulnerable online,” the Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying.

The research showed that 57 per cent of boys and 43 per cent of girls had shared some form of personal information to strangers such as their first name, age or email address.

Even though 91 per cent of Australian teenagers are confident they know how to stay safe online, the survey found more than half were downloading potentially risky programs and one in four inadvertently infected their computer with viruses.

“With more than three quarters of all teens surveyed classed as heavy internet users going online six to seven days a week, the online world presents more opportunities for bullying to prevail beyond the classroom, meaning parents need to be more vigilant than even before,” said a McAfee spokesman said.

McAfee’s ‘Secret Life of Teens’ report was conducted online by TNS Consultants, which surveyed 572 teens, aged 13 to 17 across Australia. (ANI)

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