Two in three Australian tweens are on a social network: McAfee

Security vendor also discovers that one in four tweens are Facebook users

Tweens as young as eight are adopting technology faster than imagined, and as a result are joining up social networks.

That is according to McAfee’s Tweens, Teens and Technology, which discovered that 67 per cent of Australian tweens current use a social network site.

McAfee APAC President, Andrew Littleproud, said this is made possible due to tweens having access to three or four Internet enabled devices at any one time.

“As a parent, it is no longer enough to be looking over the shoulder of tweens while they are on the family PC,” he said.

“We now need to monitor their activity on mobile devices.”

The report discovered that the nation’s eight year olds are adopting at the same pace as 16 year olds.

“On average, tweens are spending approximately 1.5 hours a day online, and half of them are using that time to chat with friends,” Littleproud said.

Despite the eligibility of Facebook being 13 years old, McAfee found that one in four tweens admitted being on the social network.

Littleproud adds that it is the parents that are allowing the tweens to join it, with 95 per cent respondents saying that their parents had given them permission to join.

“Would the same parent give the same permission to a tween to have the same potential access to strangers in the physical world?” Littleproud asked.

The report’s main finding is that teens and tweens that are more savvier with technology than ever before.

In many cases, Littleproud said they are savvier than the parents and grandparents.

“It means they are online in a big way, whether we like it or not,” he said.

“It is up to us to ensure that they are navigating the online world in a safe way.”

A new approach

The report comes during the national security awareness week, which Littleproud said is an evolution from the Secret Life of Teens report the company carried out last year.

“We thought it would be good to continue to tell our story about the importance of cyber education amongst the nation’s youth,” he said.

This year’s report was about providing an insight into what the young school age audience is doing online.

“The ambition of the report was to identify the gaps in what parents believe that their tweens and teens are doing online, and what the reality is,” Littleproud said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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