Personal Data Protection & Mobile Security Solutions

Eric L Howes of GFI Software Discusses Parent-Teen Internet Safety Study on CHWradio, With Dave & Bill

by dballard on November 15, 2011

Eric L. Howes | GFI | on CHWradio | Parent-Teen Internet Safety Study

GFI Software uncovers the digital relationship between parents, teenagers, and the Internet in their recent study, Parent-Teen Internet Safety Study.

Personally, I am grateful when industry leaders like GFI take the initiative and try to gain a better understanding of the “human behaviors” behind the actions that can have a profound effect on all us.

“I never thought this would happen to me”, a phrase heard often especially throughout the nearly four-hundred interviews on CHWradio.

Although the study focused on education practices relative to internet safety, the study also includes three major risk areas:

  • Content – The sites and other content teens visit, and parental activity around monitoring and regulating those activities.
  • Communications – Particularly relative to bullying and “stranger danger,” the survey sought to identify the risk teens face from unwanted and unsolicited communication over the Internet.
  • Malware – Family practices relative to protecting home and portable business computers from viruses, Trojans, worms, and other malware variants.

As a side note: in the later section, under communications, the phrase “stranger danger”, which was first coined by Nancy McBride, National Safety Director, for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and wishes she had never done so. The reason for Nancy’s change of mind is simple, too often the victim knows the predator and/or pedophile…They are not a stranger. Unfortunately, kids are taught to look outside his or her group of familiar faces, rather than run or shout at the familiar faces acting inappropriately.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it interesting to note that many leaders in personal online security seem to be early adopters, a website presence, recognition of a looming problem, and a personal involvement to provide a solution.

Eric is another example of my later statement. Before joining GFI (then Sunbelt Software) Eric taught for a number of years at both the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Parkland College in Champaign, IL.

Eric L. Howes is best known in the anti-spyware community for his testing and reviews of anti-spyware software, including so-called “rogue anti-spyware,” at SpywareWarrior. He also maintains a personal website to supply Internet users with resources to protect their privacy and security on the Internet.

GFI's Eric L. Howes Visits CHWradio | Dave & Bill

Eric, as well as many of our past guests, is genuinely concerned with the security, safety, and well-being of the community. GFI’s Parent-Teen Internet Safety Study discovered that there exist a substantial number of parents and teens are both engaged in highly risky online behavior in the home.

Another interesting point is the idea of treating internet education with the same fervor as the education of sex, drugs, and alcohol with the understanding that the potential ramifications of improper use of the Internet can be as devastating if not learned.

It may not seem like an aha moment, but as the study puts it…It is a cat and mouse game. The Internet is a still a new frontier begging for new discoveries, and kids are kids and will test the limits. The unfortunate side to this are parents fall short and need to be more responsible in his or her child’s digital education…”human behavior” is the weak link.  Industry security leaders, like GFI take care of the technical challenges and solutions for securing us. The “human behavior” element needs to install, implement, update, and use the technology.

Interesting, with bullying being such an important issue, and 34% of teens admitting to have said things online that they wouldn’t say in person and only 4% admitting to bullying, and 11% admitting being bullied…where are all the bullies?

Ninety-four percent (94%) of parents say they counsel teens on internet safety. I guess the question I have is what are they talking about? What do you as a parent consider important topics to cover about Internet Safety?

Eric L Howes provided our CHWradio listeners a great deal of insight to help narrow the digital gap between teens – parents – and schools.

Be sure to download the show for later listening…Mobile devices are the new frontier. Who is there to teach your family the how-to of best practices?

Listen to internet radio with Dave and Bill on Blog Talk Radio

Your CyberHood Watch Partner,


david c ballard


Radio Security Journalist


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