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Do You Know What Your Kids Are Doing Online?

Even parents who monitor their kids' activities may not know the whole story, study says

Children take many more risks online than their parents know about, according to a study released earlier today.

The Norton Online Living Report, conducted annually by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Symantec, offers a broad look at how consumers behave online. While the report discusses many positive trends in social networking and online commerce, it raises some questions about the security of children surfing online.

"One in five responding children admit to conducting activities online that they know their parents would not approve of," the report says. In the U.K., almost a quarter of children responding spend tenfold or more time online than their parents think.

In the U.K. sample, one quarter of parents reported that they have no idea what their children do online. Only 37 per cent have set parental controls on their family computers. About 70 percent of parents are concerned about their children being approached with inappropriate content or solicitations, but only 40 percent have spoken to their child on safe Internet practices, the study says.

There is a disconnect between the number of British adults who think their child has received requests for personal information online -- just 4 percent -- and the number of children who say they have been approached with such a request -- 25 percent, the study says. Almost one in ten of U.K. children have received inappropriate materials via the Internet that made them feel uncomfortable.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading