Internet Matters report shows gulf between parents and children on the web

By Pippa Thompson

Internet Matters launched new research which shows how children are leaving their parents behind when it comes to knowledge and use of the internet.

The study highlights the challenges that parents face in keeping up with what their children are doing online, with 48% believing their children know more about the internet than they do and 73% of children agreeing.

The Internet Matters ‘Pace of Change’ report reinforces how the web plays a significant part in the lives of young people, with children going online typically for three hours a day – an hour longer than their parents. Meanwhile the average girl will spend four hours a day on their smartphone, compared to three hours for boys.

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It also reveals parents are being left behind when it comes to the apps being used by their children. The proportion of children who use the two most popular apps – Snapchat and Instagram – is double the proportion of parents.

Children also use a much wider range of social media networks and apps.

Children regularly use an average of four social networks and apps, with 21% using apps that could be considered ‘risky’ for children.

One in three children hide what websites they have been visiting from their parents. One in three talk to people online who they have never met in real life. Nearly one in five have given out personal information like their full name, address and telephone number. One in five change the safety settings their parents have put on their social network accounts.

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager of Internet Matters, said: “Our research shows that more than half of all parents and children acknowledge the internet may sometimes not be a safe place for kids, but a third of parents know about, but do not use parental controls on devices, home broadband and entertainment platforms. We’d encourage parents to take these steps too as they go along way to protecting their curiosity about the web.”

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