Half of all children 8-12 are exposed to cyber-risks

Jason Breed – 2018-02-08

Digital Futures Initiative (DFi) partner, The DQ Institute, has published its inaugural DQ Impact Report today, which summarizes the current state of online child safety and digital citizenship, based on a study that included 38,000 8-12 year olds across 29 countries.  

This first-of-its-kind report reveals that, on average, 51% of 8-12 year old children in the United States are exposed to one or more cyber risks such as cyberbullying, video game addiction, online grooming and online sexual behaviours when using online platforms. The most prevalent cyber risk was found to be cyberbullying victimization at 40%, followed by online sexual behaviors (12%), meeting with online strangers (10%), and video game addiction (8%).

With the combination of additional screentime, a mobile phone and social media engagement, children’s cyber-risk exposure increases to 70% (from 51%). Full results of the report can be found at https://www.dqinstitute.org/2018DQ_Impact_Report/

“From an early age, our children's use of social media through personal mobile phones has been excessive. Before they start actively engaging in social media or owning their mobile phone, we need to empower our children with digital citizenship skills to mitigate cyber-risks and maximize the opportunity for responsibility” said Dr Yuhyun Park, Founder of the DQ Institute.

“Today, parents provide their children with devices, apps and social media access for a variety of (what they usually rationalize as positive) reasons. It is inherent though, that young children lack the cognitive and emotional skills and experiences needed to mitigate risks on these devices and platforms by themselves. With access to digital becoming a basic human right for these digital natives, education has to be the answer. We have to teach entire families (parents and children) the skills needed for a modern digital world, something I refer to as Digital Life Skills,” said Jason Breed, President and Co-founder of Digital Futures Initiative.

With the research giving a stark reality of exposure, DFi will be pushing hard to achieve its 2018 goals of being in all 50 states and attacking the problem through the right educational programs. DFi will also continue to expand its digital capabilities working through its agency-of-record Mirum. This will include continuously updating program content for teachers and parents, adding capabilities that allow self-service certification for teachers and school resource officers, online fundraising, and making sure DFi is in the right places online so critical programs and content can get to schools and communities that need help.

Digital Futures Initiative (DFi) is a US based, non-profit that delivers a progressive set of digital life skills education to children in classes ranging from K-12. Bringing together the best of law enforcement, teachers and private sector - the program has risen from a handful of instructors in one county of Colorado a year ago to over 250 instructors across 36 states that will teach upwards of a million students this school year. www.DQWorld.net is our fundamental skills approach in elementary schools while DFi designed, instructor-led lessons and activities are used in middle and high school.