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Protecting Our Children in Cyberspace: Lessons from the 2023 Cybersecurity Study

As a follow-up to the blog Protecting the Future: A Deep Analysis in which we present the first part of the 2023 Cybersecurity Study (download it here), we focus on the second section of the survey, the cybersecurity of Mexican families. The data obtained in this study corresponds 45% to parents of boys and girls, and 48% to parents of adolescents, allowing information to be obtained about the aspects that concern families with children of different age ranges, as well as the actions in cybersecurity that they have implemented.

Although more than half of the population surveyed has not experienced negative situations in their family, 41% have indicated that they have identified minors' access to inappropriate content and 17% indicated that their children have shared information with strangers.

30% of the population surveyed do not know if their children have had adverse experiences online. This data is considered relevant due to the intensive use of the Internet that minors currently make and the fact that a high number of their online activities are not supervised.

Harassment by other minors is reported by 57% of parents, although this has decreased compared to 2022.

Risk situations and negative experiences on the Internet differ depending on the age range of the minors:

● 80% of people surveyed with children between 3 and 5 years old have not experienced problems on the Internet, however, 20% have detected access to inappropriate material by their children. Although 40% say they use some monitoring system for their children's devices, another 40% do not use controls at all.

● In the case of parents of boys and girls between 6 and 12 years old, the panorama changes: all respondents indicate that their children have suffered harassment from other minors; 70% indicate that their children have accessed inappropriate content and 57% that they have shared personal data with strangers.

● Among teenagers (13-18 years old), social networks are identified as the main risk environment. The distribution of use and non-use of parental controls is the same: 43%. The most common connecting devices are phones and tablets, suggesting constant connectivity with minimal supervision. The information highlights the need for more effective digital supervision and education.

Despite the growing concern about the cybersecurity of minors, a considerable part of those surveyed do not use tools such as the creation of user profiles and of the 58% that use parental controls, only 20% establish clear rules; in fact, the number of parents not using these controls has increased from 37% in 2022 to 42% in 2023. Moderation in the use of connecting devices not only rests on security concerns, but also on other factors such as limiting the time that minors spend online, indicated by 67% of the population surveyed.

The data obtained reveal a growing concern among parents about the risks present on the Internet. Although 50% of those who have had online incidents talk at least weekly about these risks, and even 30% do so daily, there is still a perception of the need for more rigorous controls to guarantee the safety of minors. .

The general perception of those surveyed suggests that the responsibility for ensuring a safe environment on the Internet is shared, although not equally: only 16% believe that the government should assume full responsibility, while nine out of ten people believe that the Family has the greatest responsibility.

Furthermore, there is a demand for technology companies to play a more active role in this regard, suggesting that the tools and controls they can develop would be beneficial in reinforcing parental supervision.

This trend in the responses obtained suggests the need to further investigate the underlying causes of the refusal to report, in order to determine whether it is due to unjustified perceptions, particular circumstances or failures at the institutional level. It is essential to address these concerns to ensure an environment

safer digital for everyone.

As in the first section of the survey, cybersecurity awareness and education for both parents and children and adolescents are still necessary to ensure their safety online. There is knowledge and concern about the risks of Internet use, but this has not translated into the implementation of useful tools and controls by parents, as well as reporting and, therefore, investigation and enforcement of the law. in these crimes.

It is also not clear who is responsible for training both parents and children in the use of the Internet and these tools. Which creates a bit of confusion about who they should contact for information and help.

The value of this Study and the data collected is that they allow us to decide what to do and how to do it to improve the cybersecurity environment in Mexico. It is an honor for CyberLat to have participated as sponsors along with AWS, NYCE and Cdetech of this 2023 Cybersecurity Study (download it here) of the Internet MX Association.


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