Parents, do you have a clue about how your kids are spending their time online? How about you, what are you doing online? Are you talking to strangers? Do you like your online friends better than your offline friends? Ever use the Internet to find a date, pay a bill or play a game? Wonder how you compare to the rest of the world?

Symantec wanted to know how Internet users and their families spent their time online, so they commissioned Harris Interactive to ask thousands of children and adults across the globe about their online behaviors. Specifically, they surveyed Internet users in the U.S., UK, Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, China and Japan about anything and everything "Internet" then catalogued the feedback in our first-ever Norton Online Living Report.

It was discovered that about half of adult Internet users (52 percent) around the world report having made friends online, leading us to believe that the old adage of "don't talk to strangers" doesn't apply when in online worlds. More surprising was that about half of users who made friends online (46 percent) said they enjoyed those relationships as much or more than friendships made offline. Other online activities ranking high around the world are dating (23 percent), using social networking sites (50 percent), and playing games (72 percent).

What the World's Kids are doing Online...

Moms and dads, think you know what your kids are doing online? Consider this ... parents in the U.S. think their kids are online two hours a month, but in reality, kids report spending 20 hours a month online. And, 41 percent of U.S. teens ages 13-17 years old agree that their parent have no idea what they are looking at online. Here's what kids are really doing online:

  • Making friends. About a third of U.S. online children ages 8-17 have made friends online (35 percent). When you look at teens, the percentage increases, with 50 percent of U.S. teens ages 13-17 reporting they have made friends with people online. One in three U.S. children (33 percent) report that they prefer to spend time with their online friends the same amount or more than their offline friends.
  • Social networking. Seventy-six percent of U.S. teens ages 13-17 years old "constantly," "frequently" or "sometimes" visit social networking sites. Globally, about half of boys (51 percent) and girls (48 percent) visit social networking sites. Kids take after their parents when it comes to social networking: 47 percent of U.S. parents "constantly," "frequently" or "sometimes" use social networks while 46 percent of U.S. children report the same. When you look at China, the numbers are 78 percent of adults and 85 percent of children.
  • Shopping online. About one in three (35 percent) U.S. children report being "very confident" or "confident" in shopping online. This number shoots to 69 percent among children in China.
  • Getting requests for personal information. About 4 in 10 U.S. teens (42 percent) ages 13-17 have received an online request for personal information.
  • Being approached by strangers. U.S. children report that 16 percent of them have been approached online by a stranger; however, U.S. adults believe that just 6 percent of children have been approached online by a stranger.

Perhaps most shocking -- on average, only a third (33 percent) of parents worldwide set parental controls and monitor their children's online activities.

More From the Norton Online Living Report...

  • Blog-o-rama! About a third of online adults globally work on their personal blog at least sometimes (32 percent). But, this number skyrockets to a whopping 86 percent among Chinese and 44 percent among Brazilians.
  • "Mousing" for a date. More men (26 percent) globally than woman (19 percent) report that they have dated online.