McAfee Connected Family Study Reveals Parents Struggle to Provide Online Protection


SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, McAfee Corp., a global leader in online protection, released its first-ever Global Connected Family Study, which surveyed 15,500 parents and more than 12,000 of their children in ten countries to understand how they connect and protect themselves and their children. relatives online. The 2022 Connected Family study reveals stark differences globally in the attitudes and actions families take to protect their loved ones and explains how the most vulnerable may be underprotected.

The study, aligned with McAfee’s strategy to protect connected families, not just devices, and timed ahead of the United Nations’ International Day of Families on May 15, found that parents are taking more precautions, such as installing anti-virus software, using password protection, or sticking to reputable online stores when shopping, both on their own devices and on their children’s connected devices. For example, while 56% of parents said they protect their smartphone with a password or passcode, only 42% said they do the same for their child’s smartphone.

“Ninety percent of parents recognize their role as online protectors, just as they recognize their responsibility to protect their children around the world. This data is intended to shed light on actions they can take to counter some of the risks of online activities for children,” said Sachin Puri, vice president of marketing at McAfee. “As a key part of this research study, we want to equip parents with the knowledge to succeed as effective online protectors for their connected families.”

The 2022 McAfee Connected Family Study

McAfee uncovered several universal beliefs about online safety as well as tensions between parents and children when it comes to staying safe online. Overall, four topics emerged:

1. Movable maturity: At what age do children start their digital existence?

  • Internet use for adults starts early, and so do the risks that can come with it. At 15-16, teenagers are reaching their online cruising speed and mobile usage is increasing significantly, so much so that it is approaching the levels they will maintain as adults.

    • Kids want to feel safe online, and 73% of kids surveyed turn to their parents more than any other resource for help with online safety.

    • Between the ages of 17 and 18, reports of cyberbullying increase to 18%, attempts to steal an online account to 16%, and unauthorized use of personal data to 14%.

2. Parents as Guardians: Are parents effectively protecting their children online?

  • Families universally accept the role of parents in protecting children online, but parents are struggling to keep their promises.

    • On PCs and laptops, parents reported limited online protection measures they took for themselves, despite the availability and ease of use of these measures, but these measures drop even further when they are asked if they have taken similar precautions for their children.

    • While 56% of parents said they protect their smartphone with a password or passcode, only 42% said they do the same for their child’s smartphone, a further drop of 14 %.

3. The Secret Lives of Teens and Tweens Online: What exactly are tweens and teens doing online?

  • Children and teenagers want privacy and protection while building their connected lives.

    • From clearing browser history to omitting details about what they do online, more than half of kids (59%) take action to hide their online activity.

    • When it comes to general activity, parents and their children around the world agree on the top three activities of tweens and teens online.

      • Watching short videos (YouTube) – parents think, 66%; children say 67%

      • Surfing the Internet – parents think, 64%; children say 66%

      • Music streaming – parents think, 53%; children say 55%

4. Gender protection bias: Are girls more exposed to online dangers?

  • Parents seem to view boys and girls differently when it comes to protecting them online. An apparent gender bias finds girls more protected than boys, but it is boys who face more problems online.

    • Girls aged 10-14 were more likely than boys of the same age to have parental controls on PCs/laptops in nearly every country surveyed, and boys are more likely to hide their activity from their parents.

    • 23% of parents say they will check browsing and messaging history on PCs of their 10-14 year old daughters, and for 10-14 year old boys, it’s only 16%. The gap reappears, with 22% of parents restricting access to certain sites for girls and only 16% for boys.

Globally, a closer look at countries reveals several regional distinctions in mobile maturity, the gender gap, and levels of parental concern about risk. These discoveries include:

  • While the United States had the highest cyberbullying rate (28%) and high exposure to online risk, India was the most exposed to online risk among all countries surveyed and one of the top maturities mobiles.

  • The UK has shown less commitment to online safety and some of the least protected children with just 44% of parents worried about their children’s screen time, 13% below the global average, and Canada lags behind in parental action and trust in parents to protect children online at 6% lower than the global average.

  • Parents in Germany are among the least concerned and least controlling about their children’s online safety, with their fears of being exposed to cyberbullying via social media being 19% lower than the international average, and Japanese children cite the lowest rates of cyberbullying. and online risks. For example, account theft attempts were 12% lower than the global rate for children in Japan.

  • Mexican children have the highest gaming rate in the world (61%), as well as the highest perceived importance of game consoles (70%), and Brazil has the highest mobile usage among children and adolescents, with an overall rate of 96%.

“We want parents to know that there are tools and resources available to support safe and healthy online activity for their families while being aware of habits that can increase the risk of occurrences such as cyberbullying or cyberattacks” , said Gagan Singh, executive vice president. , Chief Product and Revenue Officer, McAfee. “In addition to the Global Connected Family Study, McAfee offers tools such as McAfee Total Protection for Families which gives parents the ability to monitor device activity, limit screen time, block apps, and filter websites to help add an extra layer of protection.

What can connected families do next?

  • Create an environment for open and transparent conversations about online activity. Understanding the habits and behaviors of family members online will help determine the best way to approach and protect family units, whether that means limiting time spent on gaming devices or installing software.

  • Educate children about dangerous online behavior such as deleting chat history or visiting dangerous sites. Educating children about cyberbullying or online theft could keep them and their online family safe in the future.

  • Develop a family plan in case of cyberbullying, online account theft, or unauthorized use of personal data to ensure safety is a priority and planning is in place.

  • Sign up for additional security programs like McAfee Total Protection for families to set device rules, monitor activity and block unwanted websites or apps.

For more global results, find the full report here.

Country-specific localized results can be found:

About Mcafee

McAfee Corp. is a global leader in online consumer protection. Focused on protecting people, not just devices, McAfee consumer solutions adapt to the needs of users in an always-online world, empowering them to live safely with integrated, intuitive solutions that protect their families and their communities with the right security at the right time. For more information, please visit


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