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Parents’ get a slap on the wrist for wearable devices

British parents express concern about the damage smart devices can have on children’s data security, privacy and their own parental intuition.

British parents express concern about the damage smart devices can have on children’s data security, privacy and their own parental intuition.

Manchester, United Kingdom, 9 November, 2018: Research by online security software provider, AVG, has found that 49% of UK mums and dads fear smart devices encourage children to share personal images and data on social platforms. With the increasing popularity of children’s smartwatches and fitness trackers, the AVG Digital Diaries research aims to uncover the parental attitudes towards the increasingly device-centric culture today and the huge amount of new and personal data generated by their kids. 


Data security and privacy concerns

Whether it’s a smart watch linked to a phone or a fitness tracker that monitors weight and amount of exercise, the research found that there is a growing concern among UK parents about how securely this data is kept by the devices and the implications this could have on their child’s privacy and safety. 


Nearly half (47%) believe that these devices could lead to their child’s data being stolen. In addition, 39% believe that possession of these devices will increase pressure on their child to share data on social networks, subsequently putting their online privacy at risk. 


Too much parental data dependence?

While 71% said the data generated from these devices could give parents valuable information if they had any worries about their child, such as their whereabouts, there is also a concern that it could have a negative impact on parenting. 41% said the use of these devices was a bad thing as it could result in parents having an over-reliance on data and less on parental intuition. 


“These devices can help us monitor and organise our day to day lives and activities, but we need to be aware of the implications of children using them. Just this week, The UK Children’s Commissioner described today’s children as "datafied", with it estimated that by the time they reach adulthood, they would have posted online 70,000 times,” said Jas Dhaliwal, Consumer Security Expert at AVG.


He added, “These devices essentially carry our digital identities, and without us knowing we could be sharing personal data about ourselves. Take a running app for example; many are automatically linked to social media sites, immediately sharing details of your exact location. If parents are going to allow their child to own such a device, they should ensure that not only are they secured against threats, but that their child knows how to keep their data safe and private, and tell the parent if they experience something online which isn’t right.”


On Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November, AVG will be at the Digital Kids Show in Manchester, UK, along with EST E-Safety Training to run workshops for parents and kids on how to keep safe online. More details can be found here: [link]


3,558 respondents surveyed in total in five countries in May 2017: United States (1,011 respondents), United Kingdom (1,035 respondents), Germany (502 respondents), France (508 respondents) and Brazil (502 respondents).


About AVG 

AVG Online Security Software provides software products that keep families and businesses safe online, around the world. AVG's award-winning consumer portfolio includes internet security, performance optimization, and privacy and identity protection for mobile devices and desktops. For more information, visit www.avg.com.