Less than half of parents block unsuitable material

spacer

Millions of children nationwide are being exposed to online threats as less than half of parents block unsuitable material on their internet enabled devices.

A survey of 1,000 parents with children aged between 5-18 years old found one in four parents never talk to their children about online safety. Almost half (45 per cent) believe this is their children’s school’s responsibility, and over half want more support from the Government.

Over the last year, 77 per cent of parents bought their children an internet-enabled device. Despite this, over 50 per cent of parents failed to consider buying (or are unsure if they bought) anti-virus to protect it.

Parental controls available within antivirus software, online or the device are only used by 45 per cent of parents to block unsuitable material. This is despite a further quarter also being fully aware that parental controls are a key feature of the antivirus software they’ve purchased. Similarly, a third of parents fail to make use of filters and schemes provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP).

The study by ESET UK, which polled some 1,000 adults with kids aged between 5-18, also shows that many parents may be feeling alienated by the rapid pace of change in the online landscape.  A third confessed to feeling ill-equipped to educate their children about staying safe online, with a quarter going so far as to say that they never talk to their children about the importance of being cyber-safe. A third also suggested that their children have better knowledge of internet safety than they do, with a half unsure of or in the belief that their children hide aspects of their internet activity from them.

With so many parents feeling incapable of teaching their children about security, the issue of responsibility is ever-important. Forty-five percent of parents would prefer this to come under schools’ responsibility, while fifty-one percent want to see more support from the Government in having these conversations.

Changing attitudes are also apparent, with parents of older children (16-18 years old) believing that 13 and a half years old is a suitable age to use the internet unsupervised, compared with an age of nine  for parents with children aged between five and seven.

Meanwhile, 35 per cent of UK students have circumnavigated online blocks put in place by their schools to access prohibited websites including pornographic, gambling and self-harm domains, and ten per cent admit to visiting these sites three times or more a month, according to e-safety software specialist, Impero.

The survey also asked students about incidents of online bullying and trolling, finding 35 per cent have been the victim to these activities.

The survey also asked students about incidents of online bullying and trolling, finding 35 per cent have been the victim to these activities.

School Leadership Today
spacer
spacer