Kaspersky Lab has issued its latest report about detections on computers used by children. Analysis shows that, on average, children around the world now communicate, play and access adult content via computers less than they did a year ago, but open websites with information about drugs, alcohol and tobacco more. The latter theme is of particular interest to children in North America, Oceania and Western Europe.
The report, covering the 12 months from May 2016 to April 2017, shows anonymised statistics from Kaspersky Lab solutions for Windows PCs and Macs with the Parental Control module switched on, and presents the share of visits or attempted visits to websites with potentially harmful content that fall under one of the seven most popular preset categories: Internet communication media; Alcohol, tobacco, narcotics; Computer games; Software, audio, video; E-commerce; Explicit language; Adult content.
Children opened communication websites (such as social media, messengers, or emails) in 61% of cases, compared to 67% in the previous 12 months (May 2015 to April 2016). Games have fallen to 9% from 11%, and adult websites now account for 1.2% instead of 1.5%. Meanwhile, visits to pages containing information about drugs, alcohol and tobacco now account for 14% of detections, though the figure was only 9% during the previous reporting period. Interest in pages with software, audio and video has also increased: 6% vs. 3%.
In the UAE, children visited social messenger websites in 72.56% of cases, e-commerce sites in 2.44% of cases, audio/video software providers in 3.44% cases and online games in 7.62% of cases. Websites related to alcohol, tobacco and narcotics were accessed in 9.95% of cases, while websites with profane content and adult subject matter accounted for 2.42% and 0.16% of cases respectively.
“We’re seeing a big shift in children’s online activities from computers to mobile devices. Children now only use computers to visit websites that have no mobile app equivalent or that are easier to view on larger screens. This may explain why the share of communication websites opened on computers is falling, while the proportion of pages with ‘Alcohol, tobacco, narcotics’ content is growing. The decrease in the share of games doesn’t mean children are playing computer games less; they tend to choose a few sites and stick to them, but can spend a lot of time playing them,” says Anna Larkina, Web-content Analysis Expert at Kaspersky Lab.
The report also shows that the chattiest children live in the Arab world where 89% of detections were related to communication websites. North American kids use computers for this purpose least of all – just 28% of cases. Sites about narcotics, alcohol and tobacco are most popular in North America (32%), Oceania (30%) and Western Europe (26%), while children from the Arab world are least likely to open these sites – just 3% of cases. The Computer games category follows the same pattern: it is most popular in North America (20%), Oceania (20%), Western Europe (18%) and least popular in the Arab world (2%). Interestingly, the Far East stands out with the E-commerce category accounting for 13% of detections there, while the global average is just 5%. Kids in the Far East also use software and adult websites more than their counterparts in other regions.