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Kids online in SA: chats, games, drugs

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A recent Kaspersky Lab report has revealed that chatting, gaming and searching for narcotics are among the few of the highest activities children perform online.

Kaspersky Lab’s latest report shows that children around the world spend most of their time online using communication tools such as social networks, email, chats, etc. (accounting for 67% of online activity). Globally, gaming portals (11%) and websites containing information about alcohol, narcotics and tobacco (9%) came second and third, respectively. At the same time, there is a noticeable difference between children’s interests in different countries. 

In South Africa, the figures are as follows:

·         Social networks (56%)

·         Email (12%)

·         Chats (6%)

·         Gaming (9%)

·         Drugs (7%)

The report, covering 12 months, shows anonymised statistics from Kaspersky Lab solutions for Windows PCs and Macs with the Parental Control module switched on, and presents the share of visits or attempted visits to websites with potentially harmful content that fall under one of the 14 preset categories. The statistics show that during the reporting period, children cut back on visits to communication media and adult-themed websites. This trend can be explained by children moving most of their sensitive activities to mobile devices, which were not covered in the report.

The “Internet communication media” category was most popular in Mexico (86%), Russia, Brazil and Italy (all slightly more than 70%). The least communicative during this period were children in China (30%), Germany (31%) and the UK (32%). Interestingly, the less popular this category was in a country, the more popular the “Computer games” category was. Children in the UK (28%), Germany (26%) and Australia (21%) are most likely to play online, while children from Mexico (4%), Italy (6%) and Japan (7%) do so less frequently.

When it comes to watching videos, listening to music and downloading software, kids in Japan are the clear leaders (12% of all Parental Control notifications). They are also more likely to shop online (17%), as are children and teenagers in China (20%). The category “Alcohol, tobacco and narcotics” racked up the most notifications in Germany (23%) and the UK (25%). In its turn, adult content generated most interest among children in China (23%) and Japan (5%). This topic was of least interest in the UK and the US (both less than 1%).

“The popularity of certain types of websites among children in different countries can be linked to each country’s cultural traits and economic conditions. We see that children are becoming more self-reliant online: they choose what music to listen to, what movies and cartoons to watch, and what software to install. This independence is great, but on the Web, as well as in real life, it is necessary to guide youngsters and teach them how to behave wisely, safely and responsibly. We at Kaspersky Lab believe that to prevent encounters with harmful content, parents need to combine a comprehensive security solution with constant communication. Conversations educate young users about online threats and help to build trusting relationships in families, while security solutions provide a basis for such conversations and a safe environment for all the family,” says Anna Larkina, Senior Web Content Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The Kaspersky Total Security – multi-device and Kaspersky Internet Security – multi-device consumer solutions include a Parental Control module to help adults protect their children against online threats and block any sites or apps with inappropriate content.

Kaspersky Lab also offers the Safe Kids solution that allows parents to monitor what their children do, see or search for online across all devices, and to show them what is dangerous or inappropriate online.

*Categories of websites which can be blocked by Parental Control module in Kaspersky Lab’s solutions: Adult content; Alcohol, tobacco, narcotics; Computer games; E-commerce; Explicit language; Gambling, lotteries, sweepstakes; HTTP query redirection; Internet communication media; Job search; News media; Religions, religious associations; Software, audio, video; Violence; Weapons, explosives, pyrotechnic.

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Rain, Telkom Mobile, lead in affordable data

A new report by the telecoms regulator in South Africa reveal the true consumer champions in mobile data costs

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The latest bi-annual tariff analysis report produced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) reveals that Telkom Mobile data costs for bundles are two-thirds lower than those of Vodacom and MTN. On the other hand, Rain is half the price again of Telkom. 

The report focuses on the 163 tariff notifications lodged with ICASA during the period 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2018.

“It seeks to ensure that there is retail price transparency within the electronic communications sector, the purpose of which is to enable consumers to make an informed choice, in terms of tariff plan preferences and/or preferred service providers based on their different offerings,” said Icasa.

ICASA says it observed the competitiveness between licensees in terms of the number of promotions that were on offer in the market, with 31 promotions launched during the period. 

The report shows that MTN and Vodacom charge the same prices for a 1GB and a 3GB data bundle at R149 and R299 respectively.  On the other hand, Telkom Mobile charges (for similar-sized data bundles) R100 (1GB) and R201 (3GB). Cell C discontinued its 1GB bundle, which was replaced with a 1.5GB bundle offered at the same price as the replaced 1GB data bundle at R149. 

Rain’s “One Plan Package” prepaid mobile data offering of R50 for a 1GB bundle remains the most affordable when compared to the offers from other MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).  

“This development should have a positive impact on customers’ pockets as they are paying less compared to similar data bundles and increases choice,” said Icasa.

The report also revealed that the cost of out-of-bundle data had halved at both MTN and Vodacom, from 99c per Megabyte a year ago to 49c per Megabyte in the first quarter of this year. This was still two thirds more expensive than Telkom Mobile, which has charged 29c per Megabyte throughout this period (see graph below).

Meanwhile, from having positioned itself as consumer champion in recent years, Cell C has fallen on hard times, image-wise: it is by far the most expensive mobile network for out-of-bundle data, at R1.10 per Megabyte. Its prices have not budged in the past year.

The report highlights the disparities between the haves and have-nots in the dramatically plummeting cost of data per Megabyte as one buys bigger and bigger bundles on a 30-day basis (see graph below).

For 20 Gigabyte bundles, all mobile operators are in effect charging 4c per Megabyte. Only at that level do costs come in at under Rain’s standard tariffs regardless of use.

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Qualcomm wins 5G as Apple and Intel cave in

A flurry of announcements from three major tech players ushered in a new mobile chip landscape, wrItes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Last week’s shock announcement by Intel that it was canning its 5G modem business leaves the American market wide open to Qualcomm, in the wake of the latter winning a bruising patent war with Apple.

Intel Corporation announced its intention to “exit the 5G smartphone modem business and complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices”.

Intel said it would also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business, sharpening its focus on a market expected to be dominated by Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson.

Intel said it would continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line, but did not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020. In other words, it would no longer be supplying chips for iPhones and iPads in competition with Qualcomm.

“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realise the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”

The news came immediately after Qualcomm and Apple issued a joint announced of an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm, along with a six-year license agreement, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

Apple had previously accused Qualcomm of abusing its dominant position in modem chips for smartphones and charging excessive license fees. It ordered its contract manufacturers, first, to stop paying Qualcomm for the chips, and then to stop using the chips altogether, turning instead to Intel.
With Apple paying up and Intel pulling out, Qualcomm is suddenly in the pound seats. It shares hit their highest levels in five years after the announcements.

Qualcomm said in a statement: “As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio.”

Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics released a report on the same day that showed Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia will lead the market in core 5G infrastructure, namely Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment, by 2023 as the 5G market takes off. Huawei is expected to have the edge as a result of the vast scale of the early 5G market in China and its long term steady investment in R&D. According to a report entitled “Comparison and 2023 5G Global Market Potential for leading 5G RAN Vendors – Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia”, two outliers, Samsung and ZTE, are expected to expand their global presence alongside emerging vendors as competition heats up.

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