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With Christmas just around the corner and expectant children worldwide hoping for presents from Santa Claus for their good behavior, Kaspersky Lab has revealed which countries’ children are the worst culprits for risky online behavior over the last 12 months.
Based on global statistics for its Parental Control module, the research shows that the most attempts to visit dangerous websites by an underage user were recorded in Israel (775), followed by the UK (460), the US (352), Sweden (345) and Canada (302). Kids from the Philippines, meanwhile, tried visiting risky websites 56 times.
The research covers the year from December 2015 to November 2016, and includes data gathered from Kaspersky Lab security solutions for Windows and Mac OS X with the Parental Control module enabled.
The statistics are based on the number of attempted visits the module records to sites that fall under the seven preconfigured categories* deemed most dangerous for kids by Kaspersky Lab experts. The statistics are presented as the number of attempts per user per year.
The results of the research show that children from Japan are most likely to try and visit sites categorized as ‘Adult content’ (39 attempts) and ‘Software, audio, video’ (104) – the latter category includes sites with unlicensed content.
It turns out that young Italians are most interested in gambling (3.6 attempts), while youngsters in Portugal were the most frequent visitors to sites with explicit language (60).
Israeli kids showed most interest in alcohol, tobacco and/or narcotics (687 attempts per user) and weapons (3.8), while most attempts to visit violent content sites (1.8) were made by children in the US.
In fairness, it should be noted that not all these attempts are deliberate; for example, children can end up on these sites by accidently clicking a banner or a link shared by someone else.
Meanwhile, another study conducted by Kaspersky Lab in 2016 and covering 3,780 families in seven countries found that, by their own admission, young Russians and Americans were more likely than other kids to hide evidence of potentially dangerous online activity from their parents, as well as use content that was inappropriate for children.
“Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, and this is especially true for parents who today have to protect their children from undesirable and sometimes dangerous information in both the real and virtual worlds,” comments Sylvia Ng, General Manager at Kaspersky Lab Southeast Asia. “A mom or a dad cannot always be next to their kid to prevent a casual encounter with, say, pornographic content or sites promoting drug use. That’s why specialized IT solutions are so important in warning parents and helping to prevent children from visiting this type of content.”