Thai Children Especially Vulnerable to Online Threats

Image credit: iStockphoto/Jatuporn Tansirimas

According to a new study, Thai children are among the worst when dealing with online threats.

The study, conducted by global cybersecurity company Surfshark, ranked Thailand as the third-worst country regarding children's ability to deal with online threats. Only Uruguay and Saudi Arabia fared worse.

"This means local kids don't have the sufficient skills to deal with cyberbullying or other common cyberthreats: to detect and deal with cyberthreats, evaluate their impact, and create strong passwords," a Surfshark statement said about Thailand's ranking.

Studying data from 30 countries worldwide, the report found that children in India are the best at coping with online risks, followed by Malaysia, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Surfshark used the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's 2015-2020 internet crime report data to compile the ranking.

The study found that six in 10 children aged 8-12 globally are exposed to cyber-risks online. Half of the children encounter cyberbullying, and around a third experience other cyberthreats such as phishing or hacking.

Despite financial losses from cybercrimes against children around the world decreasing by 32% year-on-year to US$660,000 in 2020, the number of such crimes surged 144% globally last year as kids increasingly turned to online studies during the pandemic.

What could be a surprise is that the study found that, in general, countries with low and lower middle income have better online safety education than rich nations. Saudi Arabia, considered a wealthy nation, was second-worst in the ranking.

"This is not a surprise that children in Saudi Arabia and Uruguay are the least prepared to deal with online threats," Surfshark said.

Aleksandr Valentij, chief information security officer at Surfshark, shared some tips on how parents can help their children deal with online risks. These include telling children not to share personal information, adjusting privacy settings, or using parental controls for online apps.

Valentij said that it is also crucial for parents to create a trusting environment that allows the child to tell their parents about a cyberthreat.

"Through this study, we can see that educating children about cyberthreats plays a massive role in them knowing how to deal with problems that may arise online. Every child is an individual. There is no one-fits-all approach to discussing online safety with your children. You must discover ways to converse with them and assist them in understanding what to do.

Image credit: iStockphoto/Jatuporn Tansirimas