Parents' web ignorance puts kids at riskParents urged to be more online savvy

17 July 2006

 

Child at a computer

Parents lack the technical skills to protect their children from internet risks such as online porn and violence, says children’s charity NCH.

Researchers found an ‘alarming’ knowledge gap which makes it hard for parents to protect their youngsters, according to the charity's report Get IT safe.

Children may be exposed to internet and mobile phone-based scams or hard-sell tactics, it warns. Chatrooms, emails and text messages are other areas where vulnerable youngsters risk ‘inappropriate’ contact with other users.

NCH new technology advisor John Carr said: ‘Children are pretty clued up when it comes to technology but they often lack the worldly wisdom to steer them away from its potential hazards.That's where parents come in. But our research shows they need to increase their knowledge if they want to protect their children.’

Internet blocks

The NCH survey found that 67 per cent of parents didn't know what a blog was and only 1 per cent thought their children used them.

In fact, one third of the children aged 11 to 16 questioned in the survey regularly used the internet for blogging, where they uploaded personal details and information.

Around 53 per cent of children said their parents never or hardly ever supervised their internet use while 81 per cent of parents claimed they knew what their children were doing online at all times.

Four in ten parents didn't know how to block their children from viewing certain online content but nearly half of the 11 to 16-year-olds questioned were confident they could get around internet blocks which parents use to deny access to certain websites.

The NCH report was based on a survey of 1,003 parents and youngsters aged 11 to 16 and carried out in partnership with Tesco Telecoms.