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Researchers Explore Best Practices for Talking to Kids About Online Privacy

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mom watches a boy doing homework on a computer

Children are less likely than parents to consider the consequences of online risky behavior.

Credit: Getty Images

How can parents encourage their children to use online technology safely? Recent research by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) suggests that a good strategy is to talk to your kids directly about online privacy and security — from a young age through high school. 

The research effort, which the NIST team members describe as an exploratory study, involved interviewing 40 parent/child pairs with kids between 3rd and 12th grades. The goal was to understand their knowledge about online privacy, security, and risky online behavior, and how the parents attempt to influence their kids' online activities and knowledge about privacy and security. 

The NIST team's preliminary findings and suggested strategies are in two papers: one presented at the 2023 International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, and the other at the 19th Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security.

From National Institute of Standards and Technology
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