Kids’ major online concerns are hackers, bullying and seeing something inappropriate, but we have a lot to learn from their ‘lesser’ worries.
At the start of last year, we shared a blog on Kids’ top five online fears. We asked the kids on PopJam, our COPPA and GDPR-K compliant content sharing platform for under 13s, to share their concerns about being online. In April and May, we again asked them to share their online worries, and explain some of their major concerns in their own words.
However, one of the key things we discovered were the patterns that emerged in the lesser-mentioned concerns.
The Big Concerns
Just like our 2018 report, the biggest concerns were bullying, hackers, seeing something inappropriate or scary, their personal information being shared and bad people. This year, kids were more concerned about hacking than bullying, and social pressures weren’t mentioned as much as scammers.
Hackers remain the ‘villains’ of the internet and are very much considered bullies with powers. They can find where you live, and that can lead to kidnapping or worse. Most PopJammers were concerned that hackers would take their account and do bad things, upsetting people and ruining their reputation or online persona.
I am worried about someone hacking into my account, finding my personal information then finding out who I am, then breaking into my house.
Bullying remains a big concern, and like our last report, kids worry about not just being bullied, but seeing it, reporting it and being accused of being a bully. Reputation or character is everything. Australian PopJammers listed ‘being blamed for something I didn’t do’ very high.
Personal information being shared
PopJammers are very concerned about their personal information being shared, as this leads to their biggest fears of being found/ stalked/ kidnapped. On PopJam, we message about privacy, although a number of kids still campaign for private chat and fewer text filters, regardless. This ties in with their concerns of bad people (strangers, creeps, predators).
Someone could use your personal details to find out who you are, where you live, what school you go to and even get kidnapped.
Seeing inappropriate or scary things
This has been especially relevant since the Momo scare (check out our blog on that here). Kids navigate the online world by testing themselves and taking chances, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t scared of seeing something that’s too much for them. It won’t stop them either. ‘Inappropriate content’ is what they’ve been warned about, often without much detail. Our filters haven’t allowed discussion of Momo, but we can see attempted chat, most of which was kids mirroring their parents and telling each other to be careful.
Warning: do not listen to what the online character Momo says, be safe and repost to spread awareness.
The key difference between scammers and bullies and hackers, is that they are looking for money or to get something from you. Examples include money and virtual currencies, such as Robux, and art (which acts as a currency on art or fan platforms). Scammers will increase as a concern as kids go onto apps or games that have any form of currency.
Scammers try to steal things from you. They trick you into giving them something and they either don’t give you something back or they give you something bad that you didn’t like. I worry because it has happened me lots on other websites.
The Smaller Concerns
These include getting blocked or banned (especially if they’ve been hacked, and it’s not their fault), being judged for their looks or creations, being catfished and being ‘roasted’ (insulted).
Equally worrying is being called a newbie (being perceived as an inexperienced beginner), not being noticed, not being famous and not winning anything.
PopJammers care about their creations, as do any 7-12 year olds online or offline. They worry their content won’t be liked, that it will be stolen, that their ideas will be stolen, that it will receive bad comments and that it might just get deleted or removed for no reason.
The biggest concerns in this area are viruses, no internet or wifi, lags and low batteries. Also, parents catching them doing something and stopping them from doing stuff (removing devices or access) are seen as major tech limits.
Other things online
Spam worries some kids, in the same way scammers do. They’re also concerned that they’ll not be able to find what they want online, that their identity may be stolen and that they’ll make an accidental purchase. They also worry about seeing online daters (because this is inappropriate or just gross) and stumbling across the Dark Web.
When looking at kids’ concerns online, it’s important to consider the tricky balances that they have to strike. They are desperate to be noticed and acknowledged, but want to remain under the bullies and hackers’ radars.They want to create and share without judgement or risk. They want to express themselves without revealing themselves. And most importantly, they want to be online and they want to explore – but without seeing something that’s too much for them to handle.
That’s why it’s important PopJam exists – a platform where kids can create, explore and express themselves, in a space created just for them.