Monday, September 16th, 2013
A survey of 400 Australian parents of 14-17 year olds reveals 41 per cent are keeping tabs on their teens by accessing their Facebook accounts without their consent.

Digital Coming of Age, the fifth instalment of AVG’s Digital Diaries study, features responses to AVG’s questions to 4,400 parents with 14-17 year olds in 11 countries, including Australia and New Zealand. It found that more than a third of parents were concerned that their teen’s interaction with social media sites could affect their future job prospects. Spanish parents (65 per cent) were the most concerned, while parents in the Czech Republic (29 per cent) were the least worried, compared with Italy (57 per cent), Germany (47 per cent), France (45 per cent), Australia (42 per cent), US (40 per cent), Canada (38 per cent), New Zealand (37 per cent), Japan (33 per cent) and the UK (30 per cent).

Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd, said, “AVG’s latest research encourages us to consider whether Facebook and other social networking sites are creating a new kind of parental relationship, or whether we are in effect spying on our teens? These sites are providing parents with new methods to monitor what their kids are doing without necessarily having to be ‘heavy handed’ or to quiz their child directly.”

Digital Coming of Age also unearths that nearly half of all parents surveyed globally felt that schools were effective in teaching their teens to use the internet responsibly. UK parents have the most faith in the teaching ability of schools (59 per cent), while the Czech Republic had the lowest (31 per cent), compared with Spain (54 per cent), Australia (53 per cent), United States (49 per cent), New Zealand (47 per cent), Germany (44 per cent), Canada (43 per cent), France (43 per cent) and Italy (35 per cent).

Will Gardner, CEO, ChildNet International, commented: "We know from our work in schools that children and young people are using a wide range of devices to surf the net and we also hear from many parents who are confused about how their children are getting online and what they are doing online. One of our key messages is to encourage parents to talk with their children and young people about what they're doing online, who they're talking to and to find out whether they have any safety concerns. It's great when families can connect online, but offline conversations are also a key part of staying safe online."

Other key findings from the Digital Coming of Age include:

  • • UK parents are most likely to suspect teens of ‘sexting’ - nearly one quarter (23 per cent) of UK parents suspect their kids of sexting, compared with Australia (22 per cent), United States (21 per cent), Spain (21 per cent), Canada (20 per cent), New Zealand (17 per cent), Japan (15 per cent), Italy (11 per cent), France (10 per cent), Czech Republic (13 per cent) and Germany (9 per cent)
  • • Spanish parents (45 per cent) are most suspicious their teens are illegally downloading music - compared with parents in the Czech Republic (35 per cent), France (30 per cent), UK (28 per cent), Australia and New Zealand (27 per cent) and US (19 per cent) – UK teens could even face up to ten years in jail for illegal downloads, as a result of Britain signing the disputed Anti-Countering Trade Agreement (ACTA) bill.
  • • Just under half of parents surveyed are concerned their teens mobile photos are geo-tagged
  • • One fifth of UK and US parents suspect their teens of accessing pornography on their PC - compared with over a quarter of Spanish parents, and 17 per cent of Australian parents.
  • • One fifth of UK and US parents have seen explicit or abusive messages on their offspring’s social networks - compared with over one quarter of Australian and New Zealand parents
  • • Parents ‘friending’ teens on Facebook - over half of UK parents are connected with their teens on Facebook, compared with United States (72 per cent), Canada (66 per cent), Italy (66 per cent ), Spain (64 per cent), New Zealand (60 per cent ), Australia (57 per cent), Germany (51 per cent), Czech Republic (50 per cent), France (32 per cent) and Japan (10 per cent).


About AVG Digital Diaries Campaign

The first stage of AVG’s Digital Diaries campaign, Digital Birth, focused on children from birth to age two. The study, released in October 2010, found that on average, infants acquire a digital identity by the age of six months old. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of children have had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parent – establishing a digital footprint even before birth. The second stage, Digital Skills, was released in January 2011 and showed that for two to five year olds, ‘tech’ skills are increasingly replacing ‘life’ skills. In fact, many toddlers could use a mouse and play a computer game, but could not ride a bike, swim or tie their shoelaces. Digital Playground, released in June 2011, found nearly half of six to nine year olds talk to friends online and use social networks. This was followed with Digital Maturity in November 2011, which revealed how 11 year olds had developed adult skills in technology.

Research for all stages of the Digital Diaries series was conducted by Research Now on behalf of AVG Technologies.

More information visit:

Contact Profile

AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd

Based in Melbourne, AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd, an Avalanche Technology Group company, distributes the AVG Internet Security and Mobile Security product range in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. AVG’s mission is to simplify, optimise and secure the Internet experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG’s powerful yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of their Internet experience. By choosing AVG’s software and services, users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown its user base to approximately 108 million active users as of December 31, 2011 and offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and small business markets and includes Internet security, PC performance optimisation, online backup, mobile security and identity protection.


Shuna Boyd
phone: 02 9418 8100
mobile: 0419 415 301
email: [email protected]
Shuna Boyd
P: 02 9418 8100
M: 0419 415 301


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