CUPERTINO, Calif. – Mar. 17, 2009 – Today’s Internet surfers are feeling lucky in love with nearly seven in 10 adults reporting that the Internet improves their relationships, according to the second annual Norton Online Living Report. But it’s not all happy connections and relationships. Unfortunately, when it comes to the eternal worry —do you know where your kids are?— the answer is: not always. Parents are in the dark, with kids reporting spending nearly twice as much time online as their parents think.
The worldwide survey also found that a whopping 99 percent of online adults say they have taken steps to secure their personal information online, yet unsafe surfing, dangerous habits and hacked computers are alarmingly common. Nearly half of online adults knowingly visit un-trusted Web sites, don’t back up their data and use unsafe passwords. About a third report someone trying to hack into their computer.
Can Technology Buy You Love?
Nearly seven in 10 online adults say that the Internet has improved their relationships. And it’s no wonder: those who have friends online have an average of approximately 41 online friends, 49 percent have a social networking page, and 24 percent sometimes share secrets online. In fact, the Internet has become such a central vehicle for communication and connection that about six in 10 online adults say they could not live without it.
Do You Know Where Your Kids Are…Online?
Last year’s report found that about one in five kids admitted to looking at or doing things online that they knew their parents wouldn’t condone. This year they got caught, with about one in five online parents saying they have nabbed their kids for unapproved online behavior.
The good news is that 90 percent of online parents recognize their responsibility to protect kids online and are initiating more dialogue on the topic—20 percent more than last year. Some kids are even opening the door and closing the online generation gap: 25 percent are “friending” their parents online and 10 percent are using technologies like IM, social networking, email, and texting to link to their grandparents.
So You Think You’re Secure?
Despite the fact that 99 percent of online adults feel they take steps to be secure, this year’s report found that many consumers are not fully protected as they flirt, share and make friends online. While it seems the average consumer is aware of the need for Internet security, some don’t run virus scans or have adequate protection for today’s threats. Even more troubling, about two in 10 online adults worldwide don’t use any security software at all. This is especially surprising given that one in three of online adults have experienced the pain of a hard drive crash, lost irreplaceable data or have had someone break into their computer. Even so, an overwhelming nine in 10 online adults and youth agree that the benefits of the Internet outweigh the risks.
“While technology may buy you love, only you can keep yourself and your family safe online,” said Janice Chaffin, group president of Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit. “The Internet has become a regular part of our daily lives and has created unprecedented opportunities to connect —from ‘Webcaming’ with grandma, to texting with classmates, to rekindling old flames. These survey results are an especially important reminder for parents to know where their kids are— whether online or offline."
The Report also explores questions including:
- What do people around the world say they can’t live without – the Internet, their car, or their cell phone?
- What is the impact of the Internet on children’s education?
- Are parents more comfortable discussing the birds and bees or bits and bytes with their kids?
- How do adults and kids maintain social graces in an online world?
- What are the secrets of success of the “E-Family?”
Norton Online Living Report 2009 Resources:
About the Survey
The Norton Online Living Report survey was conducted online in 12 countries (U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, China, Japan, India, Australia, and Brazil) by Harris Interactive on behalf of Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) between October 13th and December 5th, 2008 among 6,427 adults 18 years old and older (including 1,297 parents of children ages 8-17) and 2,614 children aged 8-17 who spend one or more hours online each month. Results for each of the 12 countries were weighted as needed to be representative of the online population of adults and children for each country, and the total results for each country were then combined and weighted according to the relative proportion of online users in each of the 12 countries. For detailed findings of this year’s Norton Online Living Report, please visit http://www.nortononlineliving.com/.
About Norton from Symantec
Symantec’s Norton products protect consumers from traditional threats with antivirus, anti-spam and spyware protection, as well as bots, drive-by downloads and identity theft-- while also being light on system resources. The company also provides services such as PC help from NortonLive and online backup, and is a trusted source for family online safety.
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.
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