Three in four parents do not believe the internet is a safe place for children, according to a new report.
Less than a quarter parents with children aged six to 12 believe it is safe for young people to go online without adult supervision, researchers found.
As a result, an overwhelming majority of parents feel the burden for ensuring their children remain safe online, lies with them.
Yet despite these concerns, the audience going online in the is getting younger and younger.
More than three quarters of kids (76 per cent) aged just 6 have access to internet enabled devices such as smartphones. By age 10 this is 92 per cent, and 96 per cent for 12-year olds.
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Three in four British parents do not believe the internet is a safe place for children, according to a new report. Less than a quarter of those surveyed said it is safe for children to go online without adult supervision (stock image)
The report, from London-based children’s entertainment website Beano.com, surveyed 2,000 British parents.
When asked to suggest who should be responsible for ensuring the safety of their children using the internet, 95 per cent felt that the onus is on themselves.
When asked who should be taking responsibility, nearly two thirds (64 per cent) said that internet platforms, such as Google, should be leaders.
Forty-two per cent said the government should take responsibility, while a further 42 per cent picked school teachers.
Sixteen per cent of parents added that they expect older brothers or sisters to supervise younger children.
The survey data also unearthed how parents attempt to ‘police’ their child’s internet use.
Thirty per cent tell their children that they are able to monitor what sites they are visiting as a safety measure, despite not actually being able to.
This percentage increases as children get older – the figure reaches 39 per cent for those with 11-year-olds and 44 per cent with 12-year-olds.
As a result, an overwhelming majority of British parents feel the burden for ensuring their children remain safe whilst online, lies with them, researchers found (stock image)
The research also found that 69 per cent of children aged six to 12 are more likely to use YouTube than the site’s child-friendly YouTube Kids platform.
Of those children who use YouTube, 64 per cent of 10-year-olds and 80 per cent of 12-year-olds are allowed to explore the platform unsupervised.
Last month YouTube came under fire from critics when one of its most followed stars, Logan Paul, who is popular with children, uploaded a video showing the body of a suicide victim.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT CHILDREN’S MEDIA HABITS?
Childwise is an independent market research agency specialising in children and young people.
The Norwich based organisation has a programme of published independent research and also conducts research for government agencies, charities, broadcasters, publishers and brands.
The Monitor Report 2018 covers children and their media, TV viewing, music, reading, cinema, children’s equipment, money, purchasing, sports & activities, health & well-being and social awareness.
Around 2,000 children aged five to 16 in schools across the UK took part in the survey, answering questions on topics as varied as their favourite apps, what they spend money on, sports they play, and their worries and concerns.
It found that they spend 2.6 hours a day watching programmes, video and short clips, compared to 2.5 hours last year.
Most children now use devices other than a traditional television set to watch video content.
YouTube remains the top way of watching on-demand content.
Children age nine to 16 spend an average of 2.7 hours online a day.
This has dropped over the last three years and is down from 2.9 hours last year.
However, this fall could be a consequence of children being less able to determine which of their routine activities are carried out online or offline.
Children are also taking to virtual reality with 25 per cent having mobile VR equipment at home.
Of these, 11 per cent have Playstation VR, 10 per cent have Oculus Rift and six per cent have HTC Vive.
Binge watching content is also a growing habit.
The report also uncovered that parents lack necessary awareness about popular social media sites.
Seventy-one per cent of parents admitted that they did not understand how Snapchat works, while 55 per cent said the same for Instagram.
Despite all these issues, many parents say their child’s internet usage can have a positive influence.
Forty per cent feel that it has a positive impact on their relationships with friends, whilst 30 per cent felt the same about their child’s relationship with their family and 33 per cent said it impacts positively on their overall satisfaction with life.
More than half of parents have spoken to their child by the age of six about this, informing them how to use the internet in a positive way.
The research also found that 69 per cent of children aged six to 12 are more likely to use YouTube than the site’s child-friendly YouTube Kids platform (file photo)
Emma Saddleton, Parents Helpline Manager at YoungMinds, said: ‘The internet offers lots of amazing opportunities, but this research shows just how worried many parents are about the impact it can have on their children.
‘Parents can’t police everything their child does online, so it’s important to have regular conversations about the internet from a young age, to take an interest in the apps and games your child is using and to set realistic boundaries.
‘Above all, it’s important to stay involved in what your child’s doing online.
‘By reassuring them that they can always talk to you openly if they’re upset by something, parents can make a big difference.’
The report, titled ‘Growing Up Online in 2018: Parents, Children and The Internet,’ was commissioned by Beano.com to mark its new partnership with youth charity Young Minds.
It shines a light on the issues and concerns that parents face raising their children in fully digital age.