BullGuard, a global leader in internet and mobile security, has announced the results of a survey that shows UK-based parents harbor real concerns for the safety of their children when using the internet on mobile devices.

Responses from 2000 parents of 7-14 year olds indicate that many parents find it difficult to safeguard youngsters against the “darker” side of the internet, with one in seven finding unsuitable content on their child’s smartphone or tablet.

83% of parents admit the responsibility to protect their children lies with them, but with the average British child now getting their own personal mobile phone at the age of eight, a potential wealth of information is being placed in the hands of a young and inquisitive mind.

{{The number one concern is the possibility of children talking to complete strangers online, with the chance of them being bullied}}, becoming distracted by schoolwork and becoming too absorbed by online activities also placed high on the list. At such a peer-influenced age it’s not surprising that 36% of parents think their child gets together with friends and searches for inappropriate terms or images and 18% put the source of this content largely down to children simply googling things they don’t understand.

72% would prefer that a child talks to them rather
than search online for answers, with just a rather embarrassed one in ten admitting that they would rather their kids seek advice online to save them from having to answer awkward questions.

Most parents are taking a proactive stance in attempting to control online activity, with 54% speaking regularly to their children about the potential dangers of the internet, but 70% take the pragmatic view that a child’s natural curiosity may make it difficult to stay one step ahead.

Nearly half of respondents revealed that they have been concerned about various search terms found in their child’s internet history. When it comes to addressing these concerns, the study found that a third of mothers and fathers have reprimanded their children for searching for inappropriate content, with 22% sitting their child down for a serious conversation about something they have found on a device.

“The research shows that while many parents appreciate that children are naturally curious, they are also concerned about the potential dangers that exist online and the likelihood of their child experiencing unsuitable and inappropriate content,” said Cam Le, CMO at BullGuard. “As children grow older it becomes commonplace for them to want to search for terms they hear in the playground or used by adults, or to visit the same sorts of websites as their friends, which can make it very difficult for parents to keep a constant eye on what’s going on.”

Sensibly 43% of parents admit to checking their child’s internet history but only 14% regularly check who they are friends with on social networking sites, and 33% said they either rarely or never bother to check what websites their children visit.

“We’re all busy people, and it’s not easy to keep abreast of everything your child does online,” said Cam Le. “The internet offers a wealth of genuinely useful, interesting and educational content that can be of great benefit to our children, so it’s important that they have access to this in a safe and secure environment. That’s where mobile security software comes in – modern parental controls are advanced enough to allow parents to choose what sites are safe to visit, to view reports on a child’s activity or receive alerts if inappropriate content is detected. It offers significant peace of mind and gives parents a helping hand in staying one step ahead of the potential dangers.”


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