The average British child spends 130 minutes per day online, 36 of which are spent doing something their parents’ would disapprove of. The findings are part of a report commissioned by TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk/brightersparks), the biggest provider of broadband to Britain’s homes, among UK parents and their children aged 5-15.
The report shows that millions of British children run virtual rings around their parents – with one in four kids saying their mums and dads have absolutely no idea what they get up to online.
Further, that their parents would disapprove of 28% of their online activity – some 36 minutes per day – and peaking at 32% amongst over 10-11 year olds.
62% of children admit to lying to their parents about their online behaviour, and they aren’t concerned about getting found out either, with 44% boasting that that they can hide any ‘unsuitable’ internet activity from their parents. Indeed 53% have erased their online footprint simply deleting their browser history.
The research also found that 44% of parents say they never check their child’s internet history to see what sites they have been visiting and 25% have no idea what security level their search engine’s content filter is set at.
Survey data comes from the TalkTalk Brighter Sparks campaign aimed at improving parents’ understanding and awareness of how to look after their kids online. Visitors to www.talktalk.co.uk/brightersparks can take the eParent test and find out what kind of eParent they are and read the Brighter Sparks guide written by child psychologist and author of the Byron Review, Professor Tanya Byron.
Professor Tanya Byron says: “TalkTalk’s research reveals the predicament facing Britain’s parents. We know the internet is increasingly important in our children’s lives, but many parents are still deeply ignorant about what goes on online. Not surprisingly, too many of us panic and either try to ignore this new technology – allowing our kids to use it unsupervised – or ban our kids from using it entirely.
“With this new campaign I want to encourage parents to treat the internet as they would do any other element of looking after their kids. After all, the internet is a human creation, populated by people, and in this sense it’s no more or less inherently dangerous than the outside world.
“Think of the internet as like a swimming pool. You want your kids to learn how to swim, but you wouldn’t just throw them into the deep end – you’d go in with them to the shallow end, get them used to the water and wearing water wings. I believe applying such offline principles to the online world makes e-parenting much less daunting and provides a solid foundation for all parents.”
Tristia Clarke from TalkTalk said: “Our Brighter Sparks campaign is designed to provide our customers with common sense, practical parenting advice they can use regardless of how old or internet savvy their kids are.”
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