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Most kids who break 'Internet house rules' have bad experiences

A 24-country study conducted by Symantec found that 82 percent of children who violated "Internet house rules" had bad experiences compared with 52 percent of those who didn't break the rules.

Norton study shows that kids who break "house rules" are more likely to suffer a "negative online experience." Symantec

A 24-country study conducted by Symantec found that 82 percent of kids who've broken "Internet house rules" have experienced something negative online." That compares to 52 percent of kids who "follow house rules."

More than six in 10 (62 percent) of kids reported that they have had a negative experience while online. Those negative experiences include being bullied, responding to an e-mail scam, downloading a virus, or being pressured online to do something that the child thought was wrong.

The study also found that a fifth of teachers (21 percent) have personally experienced or know another teacher who's experienced "cyberbaiting." Cyberbaiting, according to Symantec Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt (scroll down to listen to the entire interview), is "where kids taunt or distress their teachers in the classroom and then capture the resulting misbehavior on their cameras," which, said Merritt, "has the net effect of embarrassing the teacher--taking a momentary lapse of judgement in the classroom and then permanently embedding it onto the web."

Before you fixate on the 21 percent, consider that the report said "experienced or know another teacher who's experienced cyberbaiting." Putting that "or" in the report can lead to a misleading impression. In the interview, Merritt acknowledged that it's likely that only a very small number of teachers have experienced this themselves. Still, even if the numbers are low, it does indicate that this is something on an issue.

Encouraging trends
The results weren't all bad. The survey found that 95 percent of parents know what their kids are looking at online, up from 74 percent in 2009. Globally, only 6 percent of parents said they "have no idea what their children are doing online," even though 17 percent of kids thought their parents were clueless about their online activities.

Parental blindspots Symantec

It's not hard for kids to find porn, but most say they don't look at it. Only 12 percent admitted to visiting adult content sites when their parents weren't around. While 40 percent of kids say they sometimes stop what they're doing when their parents are watching, only 23 percent of parents "suspect their child changes the way they act" when the parents are around.

When evaluating this study, consider that there are several other recent studies that show that kids behavior online is not as bad as some adults fear. A recent surveycommissioned by the Family Online Safety Institute found that 69 percent of kids said that their peers are mostly kind to each other online.

Symantec Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt Symantec

Click below to listen to a 10 minute interview with Symantec's Internet Safety Advocate, Marian Merritt.

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