Trend Micro, an Internet safety and security company, recently released findings of a technology use survey of parents and kids across the globe. Interestingly, Brazilian parents and kids seem to have a growing, and perhaps the largest, problem with social networking.

While the survey asked parents about smartphones and their kids, far fewer of those surveyed had actually purchased such a device for their children than those who had. Globally, about 17 percent of parents have purchased a smartphone (as opposed to a standard cellphone) for their kids. This percentage is highest in Brazil at 27%, and lowest in Japan at 5%. The average age of a child receiving a smartphone was 13.

Globally, parents are not passive bystanders and are implementing household rules on smartphones. The vast majority of parents surveyed (86%) have given their kids guidance on safe and responsible use of the phone. In Brazil, over 90 percent of parents who bought their child a smartphone indicated they have given their child guidance on how to use their phone appropriately.

While mobile phones were less of a problem overall, nearly half of parents surveyed globally say their kids have accounts with social networking sites (SNS) that require a minimum age of 13 but the average age of their kids who use these sites is 12. Children in Brazil are joining social networking sites at a younger age than most other countries, at an average age of 9.

On the bright side, over three-quarters of parents surveyed are friends with their kids on their social networking sites, and two-thirds of them monitor their kids’ use at least weekly. And more than half of parents surveyed (51%) believe their kids act responsibly on social networking sites. Of U.S. parents surveyed, 67% believe their child acts responsibly when it comes to sharing personal information.

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