Today’s children are no strangers to computers and the internet. Information and entertainment are just a click away. However, this convenience comes with a catch – the lurking danger of cyber threats.
Children, with their eagerness to explore, often find themselves one click away from potentially harmful content. They are unknowingly drawn into the web of cyberattacks, and it all starts with seemingly innocent search queries.
This article is a summary of the findings we made about the most common search terms that can infect your kids’ devices with malware. In it, we uncover popular search terms that can open doors to dangerous websites and put your child’s digital security at risk.
What Did We Do?
First, we compiled a list of the most popular search terms for kids in various pop culture categories. Then, depending on the category, we entered these search terms into Google with different qualifiers (e.g., download, stream,…) and collected the URLs of the top 50 search results. The URLs were then run through Sucuri SiteCheck, a website malware checker, to determine their risk levels.
- Two-thirds of most common pop-culture terms can infect children with malware.
- The Boss Baby is the most dangerous animated film for children, with 58% of search results potentially infected by viruses.
- This Halloween, Beetlejuice is the riskiest movie on Google, with 47% of search results containing potential malware.
- Pokémon is the most dangerous animated TV series. 47% of search results are potentially infected websites.
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons carries the highest malware risk, with 46% of search results containing malware-infected domains.
- Anne Hathaway and Chris Hemsworth are the most dangerous actresses and actors for kids. More than 75% of search results about them lead to websites that may contain malware.
- Taylor Swift is the most dangerous singer for kids. 79% of her search results are possibly contaminated websites.
Most Dangerous Animated Movies for Kids
In our analysis, we discovered that some seemingly innocent animated movies can lead to risky online adventures.
The top three animations that raised red flags in terms of online safety for children are The Boss Baby, Hotel Transylvania 2, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Surprisingly, over 50% of the most common search results for these movies are from websites that may contain malware.
Here’s a list of other high-ranking animation movie titles that may lure kids to malicious websites.
Most Dangerous Halloween Movies for Kids
As Halloween approaches, our study revealed that this Halloween, three beloved classics have a darker side than expected.
Beetlejuice, Casper, and Labyrinth are the top three Halloween movies that have online safety concerns for your little ones. Shockingly, close to half of the search results related to these movies may contain malware.
Other Halloween titles used as clickbait for dangerous sites are summarized in the table below.
Most Dangerous Animated TV Series for Kids
Animated television series may also be more dangerous than they seem. In particular, 47% of the search results associated with the Pokémon series on Google are websites potentially harboring malware.
Following closely behind are the American superhero animated television series Young Justice and the Japanese anime series Monster, each with 45% of their search results posing a risk.
Below is a statistical summary of other animated TV series that pose a cyber security threat to children.
Most Dangerous Video Games for Kids
Topping the list of the most dangerous games for children is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. An astonishing 46% of search results related to this popular game may contain malware.
Besides that, three Pokémon titles have found their way onto the list of the ten most dangerous video games. These titles include Ruby / Sapphire / Emerald, Red / Green / Blue / Yellow, and Gold / Silver / Crystal, all of which carry potential risks for young gamers.
Other dangerous games for kids are summarized in the following table.
When it comes to the entertainment industry, it’s not just the content that can pose a potential threat to our children’s online safety; even the search results for their favorite celebrities can harbor hidden dangers.
Most Dangerous Actresses for Kids
At the top of the list of the most dangerous actresses for children are Anne Hathaway, Kaley Cuoco, and Melissa McCarthy. Astonishingly, the search results for these actresses carry a staggering 77% chance of containing potential malware.
Here are some more popular actresses whose name searches come with significant cybersecurity threats for children.
Most Dangerous Actors for Kids
Our analysis has also identified several actors who pose the most significant potential risks when it comes to online searches. The most dangerous actor for kids is Chris Hemsworth, known for his roles in iconic films like Thor.
Following closely behind are Neil Patrick Harris of How I Met Your Mother and Chris Pine, renowned for his portrayal of Captain Kirk in Star Trek.
Other actors whose online search results for these actors hold significant risk for children are listed in the table below.
Most Dangerous Musicians for Kids
Several digital dangers come up when children search for their favorite artists online, and some artists are more often used as bait by these malicious online spaces.
One such artist is Taylor Swift, a household name known for her chart-topping hits and global fan base. Alarmingly, a staggering 79% of URL results related to Taylor Swift contain potential malware.
There’s also the Australian musical rock band 5 Seconds of Summer and the American singer Ariana Grande.
Besides them, here’s a list of other artists who are popular among young audiences but carry a risk when it comes to the online content associated with their names.
In the digital age, when information and entertainment are just a click away, it’s essential to be aware of the lurking dangers that can threaten our children’s online safety.
From seemingly innocent movies and video games to actors, actresses, and musicians, the internet is full of search results that lead to websites potentially containing malware.
However, by understanding the most common search terms that can lead to malware, we can take proactive steps to protect the digital well-being of the youngest members of our families.
First, we’ll make a list of the movies, TV shows, games, anime, and songs that kids like best: Top 100 animated movies with the highest lifetime gross: https://www.boxofficemojo.com/genre/sg4242469121/
Best Halloween movies for kids picked by Rotten Tomatoes: https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/guide/best-scary-movies-for-kids/
Top 100 most-voted animated TV series https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=tv_series&num_votes=1000,&genres=animation&sort=num_votes,desc
Best-selling video games: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_games
And we got the list of celebrities from Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards nominations from 2019 – 2023
Then, we’ll search Google using various syntaxes, such as:
movie/anime/tv shows + free stream/free watch/free download/torrent
game + free download/ torrent
We’ll take the top 50 results from each search and run each one through a website security checker to see if the site is risk-free, of medium risk, or of high risk.
After that, we’ll know how many places are medium-risk and how many are high-risk.
Finally, we will get the percentage of those “risky search results.”
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