Should we really be worried about the websites our kids visit?

We worry about our children, or at least we should. Stranger danger is everywhere in today's world, unlike the one we grew up in.

You may have wondered around town on your own, rode in a car with no seatbelt and probably asked the question "what's a bike helmet?"

Well, things are not that safe anymore, and in fact they can be downright scary. Websites and apps are trying to sell things to kids (it will be your money that they spend). But worse, predators lurk in the shadows looking for information for potential targets.

Security firm Sophos has taken a closer look at the problems and dangers faced by our offspring. The data is scary - "The collection of watchdogs, collectively known as the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), said 41 per cent of the 1494 apps and websites it examined raised concerns over how data was being collected and shared with third parties".

To be fair, that doesn't mean your kid's information is going to the aforementioned predator, but it's going to a company. That's only slightly safer in the opinion of some people. It's names and email addresses also - the most important data you want to protect, especially given data theft these days.

Sophos points out that "considering the occasionally dark nature of the world we live in, anyone with responsibility for a child's welfare may well not like the revelation that just under 1 in 4 sites and apps gave kids the opportunity to upload their photo or add video clips. 22 per cent of the services looked at also allowed youngsters to hand over their phone numbers".

It gets worse, as only 24 per cent of the tested apps and websites encourage parental control. That's a number no parent wants to hear.

The report was put together by the UK Commissioner's Information Office and can be read here. Meanwhile, we encourage you to please watch your children online.

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