Parents struggle to manage their children’s smartphones and tablets


Six in ten worried parents monitor their children’s phones to see what they’re up to online, according to new research.

The study by internet and mobile security expert, BullGuard, revealed that one in five do not trust their children online and suspect they are accessing inappropriate content, with a quarter saying they were shocked by what they found after reading through emails, Facebook posts and instant messages.

During a typical weekend, the average child sends and receives over 100 emails, texts and instant messages.

Over a third of worried mums and dads admit they look at their kids’ emails, while nearly four in ten read through their instant messages on apps such as Kik, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

Just over 55 per cent look at their internet history, while 55 per cent also check text messages.

More than a third of parents look at their children’s pics on Facebook and Instagram to see what they are up to.

Checking up on their internet activities is so routine that mums and dads spend on average one hour 45 minutes every week looking at their kids’ devices.

Half of parents sneak a peek while their kids are asleep, a quarter do it when they are at school and nearly a third do it whenever their children are not looking.

Despite this, four in ten admit they are wracked with guilt for spying on them after they had found perfectly innocent messages.

Over one in ten admitted that their children know more about social media than they do and could “run rings around them”.

As a result nearly 56 per cent have rules in place about when their kids can access their smartphones or tablets.

The number one rule set by parents is “no gadgets at the dinner table”. The second is they must know their children’s passwords and number three is “no gadgets at bedtime”.

Four in ten said they were alarmed to see their children discussing sex or sexual content, while a quarter found evidence of their child being bullied.

Nearly half found them using offensive language.

Close to four in ten feel like they have little or no control over their children’s online activities.

And over a third think their children could be up to “anything” online when they are claiming to be using the web for homework.

Nearly a quarter of parents have noticed their children quickly minimise windows when walking in unannounced.

While four in ten suspect their children have secret social media profiles and nearly half suspect their children delete content from their smartphone so no one can see it.

Nearly thirty per cent have parental controls set up on their children’s gadgets while over a quarter said their children have a pin code on their devices – and they don’t know what it is.

A staggering two thirds of mums and dads aren’t familiar with the apps their kids use.

Seven in ten said app developers could do more to help them keep an eye on what their children are up to.


Digital Learning