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Six in 10 kids know how to bypass parental controls

"It is increasingly difficult for parents to keep up with technological advances and their children’s ever-growing knowledge of it."

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Young children using a tablet computer while their happy parents are watching in their living room
In the poll, 23 percent of parents didn't use parental controls at all. (ESB Professional via Shutterstock)

By Oliver Lewis, 72Point via SWNS

More than half of parents believe their kids are more digitally literate than they are – as six in ten youngsters have managed to bypass parental controls, according to a survey from the UK.

The research of 2,000 parents, with children aged between seven and 17, found that 40 percent of these parents realized their offspring had an advanced understanding when they knew their way around tech better than they do.

But this superior ability to navigate the digital world is a concern for over half of these parents (55 percent).

Money being spent without them knowing (59 percent), accessing inappropriate content (50 percent), and speaking with strangers (37 percent) rank among the top worries.

In an attempt to keep up, 42 percent are spending time learning how to use their devices, and 39 percent are educating themselves as much as they can about online safety.

But despite concerns, nearly one in four (23 percent) don’t bother with parental controls, as 24 percent of these believe their child will just evade them anyway.

via GIPHY

However, more than a fifth (21 percent) of this group admit they simply do not know how to set them up properly.

The research was commissioned by software company Avast as part of its “Back to School” campaign, which aims to educate parents to help their children safely navigate the internet.

Jaya Baloo, chief information security officer for the online security and antivirus software provider, said: “Parenting in 2022 is getting more complex – from a young age, children are coming into contact with the internet and a variety of devices which allow them to access it.

“We understand children also face social pressure to connect with their friends online on different, sometimes questionable social platforms – and that it is increasingly difficult for parents to keep up with technological advances and their children’s ever-growing knowledge of it."

“Our research demonstrates parents are naturally concerned their children know more about the internet than them – but there are straightforward steps and easy-to-use tools that parents can use to educate themselves and ensure their children can enjoy the many positive and educational aspects the internet has to offer.”

The study also found that 83 percent of children with access to the online world are allowed to use the internet unsupervised.

On average, age 10 is the point at which they have been allowed online without the watchful eye of mom or dad looking over their shoulder – but some as young as five are allowed to roam freely online.

Of these parents, 67 percent are concerned about what they do without their supervision – however, more than half (52 percent) admit they don’t have enough time to constantly monitor them.

And two-thirds have had arguments with children about what they get up to on the internet.

via GIPHY

On average, these children have three devices that can access the internet – although nearly two-fifths (39 percent) have four.

In fact, 57 percent of parents believe this array of tech can make it more difficult to protect their children's online safety.

It emerged 46 percent would like more guidance about cyber security and online privacy to help keep their child as safe as possible online.

And nearly two in five of those polled, via OnePoll, identified that easier-to-use privacy products would help them manage their family’s internet activity.

Marvyn Harrison, parenting influencer and founder of Dope Black Dads, said: “My children are aged four and six, and are already using numerous devices that have access to the internet.

“For parents who did not grow up with a similar experience, understanding how your child uses the internet and ensuring they can navigate it safely is imperative.

“My children’s generation have so many opportunities to create and enjoy what the world has to offer, all through the power of the internet.

“By ensuring we stay educated on the ever-evolving world of the internet, and the security and privacy products on offer, as parents we can help our children to exist online as safely as possible, and give ourselves peace of mind.”

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