Young people tell us parental confidence in online safeguards might be misguided

15 Apr 2019 Helen Cole

Today SWGfL has released the third in a series of Young People, Internet Use and Wellbeing reports as part of its work within the UK Safer Internet Centre. The report has been prepared by SWGfL research partner, Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in IT at the University of Plymouth. With a focus on families, this report explores the use of technology in the home to manage concerns around online safety and interactions around digital technology use.

The analysis finds that the most harmonious homes when it comes to tech use are those with younger children, while the most tension between young people and parents is in households with teenagers. Key highlights from the report include:

From the perspective of parents:

  • Parents are concerned about harmful content online and potentially damaging contact. 4 in 5 parents are particularly concerned about exposure to pornography, bullying and grooming.
  • Parents make use a range of technical measures and “parenting” approaches to manage online risks.

Young people present a complimentary, but somewhat conflicting perspective:

  • Young people are likely to turn to their parents for help until they reach teenaged years.
  • As young people get older, they believe they know more about digital technology than their parents.
  • Young people become more and more confident about bypassing technical house rules as they get older (3 out of 5 can bypass some, or all, rules at home).
  • There may be evidence to suggest as children get older they aren’t aware their internet access is being monitored.

The report draws on data from SWGfL survey work of 20,000 children and young people, a survey conducted by Mumsnet and a study between , the Office of the Australian eSafety Commissioner and Netsafe New Zealand.

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