A new study reveals 30% of parents haven't had conversations with their children about cybersecurity.

The Parental Practices Report: Conversations on Cybersecurity, released by Keeper Security, explores parental attitudes, practices and concerns regarding cybersecurity discussions with their children and sheds light on this imperative topic for families. The report shows that almost one in three (30%) parents have never spoken to their children about cybersecurity. Meanwhile, more than two in five parents (41%), who admitted they don’t know how to create strong passwords, still give their child access to their mobile phones and almost a third (32%) give them access to their computers. 

Other report highlights

  • Balancing priorities: Among global respondents, 57% reported greater comfort discussing password security than sex education, while 16% felt more at ease with sex education. Almost one in five (19%) expressed discomfort discussing either subject. 
  • Parental roles: Despite fathers claiming to be more comfortable than mothers when talking to their kids about cybersecurity, it’s mothers who conduct the majority of the cybersecurity discussions, with 56% of parents saying mothers were responsible for cybersecurity talks with their children; and 52% citing dads. A disparity emerged in the U.S., with 62% attributing this responsibility to mothers. 
  • Cybersecurity conversations: 30% of parents confessed to not addressing cybersecurity with their children at all. Meanwhile, 75% of parents with 12-16-year-olds and 62% with 8-11-year-olds had engaged their children in these discussions. Younger children's internet exposure without cybersecurity guidance raises concerns, as 44% own mobile phones and 46% have online gaming accounts. 
  • Regional variances: France exhibited the lowest rate of cybersecurity discussions at 34%, contrasting with Germany's 73% engagement. In the UK, schools were most relied upon (40%) to educate children on cybersecurity, while the U.S. depended the least on schools (21%). 
  • Password security knowledge gap: 45% of parents believed their 8-11-year-olds could create strong passwords, while 70% held the same confidence for 12-16-year-olds. Parents with insufficient password security knowledge themselves admitted to granting their children access to their devices, highlighting a potential risk. 
  • Digital access: Children's access to digital accounts varied by age, with 73% of 12-16-year-olds owning mobile phones. Of the one in three parents that said their child does not understand how to create a secure password, almost half (48%) have their own phone and their own online gaming accounts (44%). 

Conducted in 2023 by Censuswide, the comprehensive survey engaged 4,005 parents across diverse backgrounds in the U.S., UK, France and Germany. The research delved into parental comfort levels and frequency that parents discussed cybersecurity with their children, who is deemed responsible for these conversations, and the digital platforms their children are allowed to access.