Investigating levels of cybersecurity risk awareness by South African Parents

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University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg
The rapid development in technology and easy accessibility to the internet has resulted to an increase in cybersecurity challenges on a daily basis. Children get introduced to the internet at an early age when they still have very low levels of perception. As a result, children get exposed to cybersecurity risks such as cyberbullying, cyberstalking, stranger danger, identity theft and phishing scams. These necessitates parents’ awareness of such risks as parents play a vital role in ensuring safety and teaching safe practices in order to protect children while they navigate the internet. This research examined the levels of South African parents’ cybersecurity risks awareness and knowledge which children face when interacting on the Internet. It also examined the role parents play in educating their children on such risks and examined whether parents applied appropriate security measures in order to protect their children while accessing the internet. The research used quantitative methods to collect data. A survey of parents with children between the ages of 3 and 12 years who live with their children in the households, was undertaken. The results showed that that although majority of the parents were aware and knowledgeable of the cybersecurity risks, lower levels were evident on parents educating their children of those risks and lower levels were also reported on the application of security measures. Therefore, children were still compromised and exposed to such risks while they access the internet which necessitates parents further improving on educating children and also applying necessary security measures in order to protect them while accessing the internet.
A research proposal submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in the field of Digital Business
Cybersecurity risks, Cybersecurity awareness, Internet, Children, Parents awareness, Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking, Stranger danger