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31 Jul, 2012

Survey: Parents Can Track Kids’ Internet Activity on PCs But Not Smartphones


Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) July 30, 2012 — McGruff SafeGuard Browser®, a free, fully-featured, Safari-like browser application that blocks inappropriate websites and content accessed via Safari on mobile devices, today announced the results of a survey that measured the amount of time kids spend online on smartphones, and parents’ views on mobile Internet safety and control.

A June 2012 Teen Internet Behavior study by McAfee revealed a large gap between parental views of children’s PC-based online activities and reality. Extending the scope of the McAfee study, the McGruff SafeGuard survey found disturbing trends regarding parents’ lack of control over their kids’ online activities using mobile devices.

Quote startOur survey illustrates that parents need more education on the tools available to help them regain control of their child’s mobile online activities – Marty Schultz, director of McGruff SafeGuardQuote end

In June 2012, McGruff SafeGuard collected responses to 12 online questions from 302 parents in the United States, all of whom have previously purchased a PC-based parental control product to protect their child online. Among the findings, 74% of kids spend at least one hour, and 48% spend over three hours, per day online on their smartphone.

The top two fears parents expressed about this activity is their child seeing something inappropriate for their age online – with pornography the number one concern followed by chat and violent sites – or connecting with a predator. While 93% of parents have discussed Internet safety with their kids, 75% still fret that friends or peers will convince their child to view content they have forbidden.

Despite all of the concern, most parents don’t do much to control or monitor the mobile online activity of their kids, or feel there’s little they can do about it. Nearly half of parents only check their child’s mobile device one time or less per month, and one in three don’t even know their child’s passwords. Moreover, even though nearly all Internet-connected smartphones and mobile devices come with some type of parental control tool, 62% of parents haven’t activated them. Fifty-three percent of parents say this is because they believe their child’s smartphone doesn’t have parental controls or they’re unsure if it does.

Equally alarming, the McAfee study underscores that parents are losing the battle with their children for online control. It found that:

●    70% of teens hide their online behavior from their parents.
●    43% of teens have accessed simulated violence online;
●    36% have accessed sexual topics online;
●    32% have accessed nude content or pornography online;
●    21% use an internet-enabled mobile device to hide their surfing behavior;
●    23% of parents surveyed don’t monitor their children’s online behaviors because they are overwhelmed by technology.

“These surveys reveal that children and teens are doing things online that their parents disapprove of, and that parents don’t know what do,” said Marty Schultz, director of McGruff SafeGuard. “The McAfee study shows how little control parents have over their child’s surfing activities on a PC. A lot of the traditional safeguards for PCs don’t apply to the mobile world, where online access is even harder to monitor. Our survey illustrates that parents need more education on the tools available to help them regain control of their child’s mobile online activities – like the free McGruff SafeGuard Browser app.”

McGruff SafeGuard Browser App

Just like McGruff the Crime Dog, who is familiar to millions of parents and kids for helping families stay safe, the McGruff SafeGuard Browser protects kids and teens when surfing online on mobile devices. Apple’s popular Safari browser doesn’t offer mobile parental controls. McGruff SafeGuard Browser® is a free, fully-featured, Safari-like browser application for the iPhone®, iPad® and iPod Touch® that blocks inappropriate websites and content accessed via Safari on mobile devices.

Downloadable from iTunes, the McGruff SafeGuard Browser app blocks or allows content by topic or age. Over 100 topics can be blocked. Parents receive a report summarizing their child or teen’s online browsing activity, and which device was used for access. The app works just like the Safari browser but with three content filters for all ages, the ability to block malicious websites, and:

●    Safe Search capability confines surfing the web to the McGruff SafeGuard Browser. This prevents kids and teens from using another search engine to access blocked sites and content.
●    Safe YouTube lets kids and teens see only age-appropriate videos
●    Automated device-specific summaries detailing online activity including the number of sites visited and blocked
●    Customizable: block or allow content from over 100 categories. See the full list at http://www.gomcgruff.com/t/Categories.asp.
●    History of sites visited recorded
●    Email link to specific webpage user accessed
●    Ability to print webpage accessed to discuss with the user
●    Set browser Bookmarks to easily return to favorite websites
●    Quick and effortless set up

Survey Methodology

In June 2012, McGruff SafeGuard conducted a random email survey of 302 parents in the United States with a confirmed interest in Internet child safety. The survey consisted of 12 online questions. The margin of error for the survey is+ 5.66 percentage points, and the responses representative of 100,000 to one million people. The survey asked parents about mobile Internet safety and control of their children’s Internet-enabled mobile devices, which include both smartphones like the Apple iPhone or Android devices, as well as WiFi-based mobile devices like the Apple iPad. For a copy of the survey’s questions and results please click here.