Are UK Parents Lax About Kids' Digital Usage? - eMarketer
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Are UK Parents Lax About Kids' Digital Usage?

Majority of children exposed to inappropriate content online

February 8, 2017 | Media

A recent global study from Intel Security found that almost a quarter of parent internet users allowed their children to use internet-connected devices at bedtime completely unmonitored.

Extent to Which Parent Internet Users Worldwide Limit/Monitor Their Child's Use of Internet-Connected Devices at Bedtime, Dec 2016 (% of respondents)

Children in the UK are particularly prolific digital media users. September 2016 data from Futuresource Consulting highlighted one platform that UK kids engaged with on an especially regular basis. It found that only 13% of kids ages 3 through 16 didn’t watch something on YouTube in a typical week, according to their parents, with 49% spending 3 hours or more doing so. A small handful—3%—were said to watch in excess of 20 hours per week.

Such habits don’t come without risks. Fully 70% of children in the UK have seen images and videos not suitable for their age, according to the UK Safer Internet Centre, a European Commission-appointed group that promotes the safe and responsible use of technology by young people in the UK and is the local advocate for Safer Internet Day, held annually on the first Tuesday in February.

Other digital statistics reveal just how exposed children in the UK may be to inappropriate content. For example, eMarketer estimates that 1.1 million kids in the UK under the age of 12 will be social network users in 2017, despite many networks having age restrictions—usually varying from 13 to 16—designed to keep them out of a realm intended largely for adults.

Whether UK parents will be able to keep on top of their kids’ escalating digital media consumption remains to be seen. But if children’s online habits continue to develop the way they have over recent years, Safer Internet Day’s importance will only grow.

Bill Fisher

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