Kiwi mums secretly access kids' Facebook

By Paul Harper

Half of New Zealand mothers have accessed their children's Facebook page without their consent, according to an international report.

The AVG Digital Coming of Age study surveyed 4,400 parents of 14 to 17-year-old children in 11 countries, including New Zealand, between January 15 and February 1 this year.

The study found 44 per cent of Kiwi respondents had accessed their child's Facebook profile without their consent.

Spanish and American parents were the least trusting, with 61 per cent of parents accessing their teen's Facebook, while at the other end of the spectrum only 9 per cent of Japanese respondents admitted to accessing their teen's profile without consent.

More than half (60 per cent) of Kiwi respondents are "friends" with their children on the social media website, compared to 72 per cent in the US, 66 per cent in Canada and Italy, 64 per cent in Spain, 57 per cent in Australia, 51 per cent in the UK and Germany, 50 per cent in Czech Republic, 32 per cent in France, and 10 per cent in Japan.

The study found about a third (37 per cent) of parents fear their teen's interactions online could affect their future job prospects, and 26 per cent surveyed said they had seen explicit or abusive messages on their teen's social networking profile, compared to a fifth of US and UK parents.

Nearly one fifth of Kiwi parents suspect their teen of accessing porn. Globally, 26 per cent suspected their teenage son was accessing pornography, while only 12 per cent suspected their daughter of doing the same.

Only 17 per cent of New Zealand parents suspected their teen of engaging in "sexting" or sending sexual text messages, compared to 23 per cent of UK parents surveyed.

While 45 per cent of Spanish parents suspected their children of illegally downloading music, only 27 per cent of Kiwi parents thought their children were.

Nearly a quarter of New Zealand parents though schools were not doing enough to educate teenagers about using the internet responsibly, while 47 per cent were satisfied schools were doing enough.

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