Redwood City, United States, November 14, 2018: Global research by online security software provider, AVG, has found that 43% of parents fear smart devices encourage children to share personal images and data online. With the increasing popularity of children’s smart watches 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 parents about how securely this data is kept by the devices and the implications this could have on their child’s privacy and safety.

Over two-fifths (44%) believe that these devices could lead to their child’s data being stolen. In addition, 35% 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 70% 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. 42% 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 organize our day to day lives and activities, but we need to be aware of the implications of children using them,” 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 to tell the parent if they experience something online which isn’t right.”

Methodology
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).