What did parents tell us?
There are the typical concerns on:
Content – what children are able to see or view online
Contact – who children can speak to and meet online
Conduct – how they present themselves and engage with others
Whilst these concerns have been around for a while, they are still a major issue, with only 3 in 10 parents confirming they knew a lot about these issues and about 6 in 10 parents asking for more information.
Navigating the ‘new normal’
There’s new news too – including the impact of social media on children’s mental wellbeing, the obsessive behaviour sometimes associated with the use and the compelling need for young people to stay connected all the time. Parents told us they were ‘navigating a new normal’ when it comes to what is acceptable, normal and typical behaviour for this generation. They also were more vocal about the new challenges on vloggers and the strong influence they have on their children’s behaviour.
New online concerns for tweens and teens
Parenting digital older natives brings other new concerns too – around the creation and sharing of sexual content. Parents worry their children will be easily convinced to send videos or photos of themselves without understanding the consequences. They also believe to some extent this is being normalised online and that their children remain vulnerable to the pressure to create or post explicit images.
So there’s still much to do, both in helping parents understand more and in the really important conversations we encourage parents to have with their kids. The good news is that once parents find the Internet Matters website they are much more confident, better equipped and more likely to have those vital conversations.