New research by Trend Micro Australia, a global leader in cloud security, has revealed that 70% of kids owning a smartphone in Australia are at threat to online predators.

Despite the warnings, almost ¾ of Australian parents haven’t installed security software of any sort on their children’s smartphones, jeopardising the welfare of their children by exposing them to online predators, access to illicit or inappropriate content, and increasing the vulnerability of malicious threats.

With 83% of parents having recently purchased a mobile device for their children, alarmingly protection against online predators isn’t being included in this purchase. Whilst almost half of the respondents (42%) felt installing security software “wasn’t needed”, 1 in 5 of parents “hadn’t even thought of it” as an option.

Additional Trend Micro research reveals that Australian parents are losing control of their children’s online security. Although 71% of parents are concerned about what their children are doing online, for those with children on social media sites, almost one third never monitor their children’s social media profile to ensure their safety (29%).

Aman Chand, Trend Micro’s Cyber Safety Expert commented: “It’s alarming that in 2013 we are still in the ‘education’ phase in relation to security protection across connected devices, in particular smartphones. It is the role of parents, across Australia, to take control and minimise their children’s vulnerability within the cyber world.”

Chand acknowledged the difficulties, further commenting, “We understand that the increasing accessibility to connected devices, outside of parental supervision, makes protecting children harder, particularly as the average Australian household now has around 5.7 connected devices within the home. However, in light of this, we urge Australian parents to take control of those they do have influence over, specifically those they have directly purchased.”

Below are tips from Aman Chand, Trend Micro’s Cyber Safety Expert with regards to how to keep your children safe online:

  • Discuss your concerns with your children: have an open dialogue with them so they understand your position.
  • Install a Trend Micro product that includes parental controls: This way you can safely control the type of content your children access and limit their exposure to cyber criminals and online bullies through website and time restrictions. Ensure the application is cloud based so that it can protect your family across your home PC, tablets and mobile devices so that you have maximum security.
  • Talk with your children about entering personal information online: Advise children to stay on agreed upon websites only and not to give out personal information such as name, address, phone number or age.  If they are tempted to enter an online competition, ask them to discuss this with you first.
  • Don’t let curiosity get the better of you: Encourage your children not to add people they don’t know to their social networking sites.  For Facebook, use Trend Micro’s Facebook Privacy Scanner to ensure they have maximum protection at all times.
  • Keep the computer in a common area: Be present while your child is using the computer or spot-check its use (as appropriate to the child’s age).
  • Agree a time limit: Agree a timeframe that you are comfortable with including hours per day and week and specific timings throughout the day.
  • Ensure your software security is up-to-date: Install Trend Micro’s Maximum Security software to protect your devices from things such as viruses, spyware and spam. This works across up to 5 devices.
  • Add a URL filter: Security software such as the parental controls within Trend Micro’s Mobile Security Personal Edition allows you to filter certain websites, such as pornography and violent websites.


For more information on Trend Micro