Filipino kids using the internet to stream, download software

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FILIPINO children are spending most of their time online streaming videos and music and downloading software, a report by Kaspersky Safe Kids said.

The Russia-based cybersecurity firm said in a statement that the number of children from the Philippines using the internet to access software, audio and video websites has grown to 49.12% this year from 25.41% in 2018.

This reflects a regional trend, as neighboring countries likewise recorded the same growth in changing internet behavior from children: in Indonesia, it rose to 60.33% from 38.72%; in Singapore to 42.32% from 25.03%; in Thailand to 37.23% from 11.28% and in Vietnam to 50.14% from 27.11%.

The findings of Kaspersky were from May 2018 to May 2019 data collected from computers using Windows and Mac OS. It did not cover statistics from children’s mobile use.

Aside from using the internet for streaming and downloading, children were also using their time online on e-commerce websites.

Kaspersky said in the Philippines, the number of children doing online shopping has grown to 13.21% in the January to July period from 2.39% in the same time frame last year.

For the rest of Southeast Asia, a similar rise in young online shoppers was observed: a 13.24-percentage point jump in Singapore, 8.32-percentage point growth in Malaysia, 4.8-percentage point climb in Indonesia and 1.62-percentage point increase in Thailand.

“It is an accepted fact that our children are better internet navigators than us, adults. With their curiosity and quickness in grasping or even making their own online trends, it is undoubtedly important for parents to know their interests and habits,” Kaspersky General Manager for Southeast Asia Yeo Siang Tiong said in the statement.

He said it is important to know that more children are using the internet for video, music and software downloading platforms as these sites are “plagued with malware, virus and dangerous content.”

“We hope these findings could help parents in understanding their kids better and in protecting them against the potential dangers in the digital world,” he added.

The report also highlighted positive online behavior from children in the past months, as there are fewer users that try to access adult content such as pornography and erotica. In Asia, the figure slid to 2.26% from 2.72% the previous year.

“It is encouraging to see that fewer children are interested in online adult content in the region. We credit the steps being done by SEA (Southeast Asian) governments to block easy access to such sites,” Mr. Yeo said.

But he noted the rising popularity of e-commerce sites must be watched by parents, as risks of online fraud, among others, are brought by this trend.

“…The shift of interest towards online shopping should mark a closer guidance between kids and parents. The risks in e-commerce such as fake sellers, fake products, malware-infected sites, compromised payment gateways, and more, pose a real and costly danger against the family’s financial details,” Mr. Yeo said. — Denise A. Valdez