13 year olds "more tech-savvy" than their parents, says new report

A new report from Kaspersky labs says that teens are more handy with technology but not prepared to defend themselves from online threats

As teenagers terrorise the great and good of global security and communications, Kaspersky Lab has released a timely report on that very subject. Sort of.

Kaspersky Lab's children's survey of 2015, surveyed nearly 1000 youngsters aged 8-16, a generation that we can assume is more tech savvy than previous ones, let alone their parents'.

They appear to agree too. Nearly half of respondents believe they are better equipped to deal with technology than their parents by the age of 13. It's not much of a surprise either: three-quarters of UK children, the survey says, had started actively using the internet by the age of ten.

The relationship between parents and children as regards the internet is, as always, fraught. The kids might be more tech-savvy but they want their parents to keep them cyber-safe. That said, the parents aren't much more confident, with 83 percent of them worrying about how exactly they do protect their kids from such online threats as cyber-bullying and inappropriate content.

Given that fact, said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, who spoke to SCMagazineUK.com, "It's important for parents to understand the potential threats, open up a dialogue with their children about the risks and use the technology that's available to help them secure their children."

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, a UK government service promoting cyber-security, said of the report: “We encourage parents to have an open and honest dialogue with their kids about cyber-safety, whether that's reminding them to change their security settings to private when setting up social media accounts, to making sure all devices are protected by security software, to reporting any suspicious behaviour or cases of cyber-bullying.”

He adds: "Of course, parents can't know what their children are doing every second of the day, but they can put a good system in place so that their children are at less risk of falling victim to online crime."

Keeping the little dears safe is all well and good but what about the danger they pose to us, namely teenagers wreaking havoc on the important infrastructure and institutions of adults. 

In the past couple of weeks, two supposed teenagers hacked into not only large telecommunications companies' information databases and the personal email account of the director the CIA. 

The CIA hacker spoke to CNN and characterised the effort as ridiculously easy (see video below for more on that). 

Emm told SC that while this responsibility is largely on the company or organisation that is at threat, "Education is also important, so that young people understand the wider context (in legal and moral terms) of something they might otherwise see only in technical terms and do 'for kicks'." 

Emm added that, "In this context, the government's inclusion of security and social responsibility in the new computing curriculum is a positive move."