My Family's Digital Toolkit launched around online safety | Internet Matters

My Family’s Digital Toolkit launched for ‘made to measure’ advice for parents

For the first time ever, UK parents can benefit from ‘made to measure’ advice around children’s online wellbeing with the launch of our new service.

  • My Family’s Digital Toolkit gives tailored advice that can support millions of parents in need of help so their children can thrive in the online world
  • New research shows 5-year-olds in the UK now regularly use an average of FIVE separate apps – an example of the struggles parents face in keeping up to speed with their kids’ online lives
  • Over half of parents (53%) say their children have become too reliant on technology post-lockdowns – with nearly seven in 10 (68%) concerned their children are spending too much time online.
  • Over a quarter (29%) of children admit they don’t know how to control the amount of time they spend online

Internet Matters today launches a new online safety service designed to support millions of parents with their child’s wellbeing, amid new research which shows the struggle families face to find balance in the digital world post-lockdown.

My Family’s Digital Toolkit enables parents for the first time to find the right advice depending on their own situation by spending as little as 10 minutes answering a series of questions surrounding their concerns matched with their children’s digital habits.

The new service, which sees personalised advice emailed directly to parents, is one of the first new initiatives to be delivered from a 12-month programme of work based on academic and end-user research which aims to improve children’s wellbeing in a digital world.

It comes as parents increasingly struggle to navigate their family’s rapidly changing relationship with the digital world, with many anxious about how to achieve a happy balance towards positive online health.

Internet Matters research found that 4-5 year-olds are already using an average of five separate apps, which rises to seven platforms by the time they are in their teens, according to parents.

And over a quarter (29%) of children aged between 9 and 16 do not know how to control the amount of time they spend online.

When it comes to applying technical safety measures, around half of children (53%) say they know how to set privacy settings on devices such as smartphones but less than half (46%) know how to report content or users online.

Worryingly, it found that one in seven children (13%) don’t know how to put in place any of the following technical measures to protect themselves online including set time limits, set privacy controls, avoid certain websites or platforms, report content or users or block accounts they don’t like.

The findings highlight the challenges parents face when it comes to staying on top of their child’s online lives.

Parents have also expressed concerns about their children’s abilities to apply safety measures to protect themselves online.

More than a third of parents (36%) say they are unsure or not confident that their child knows how to keep themselves safe online while 1 in 4 parents (24%) say they aren’t confident they know how to keep their child safe online.

It comes in the face of a new post-lockdown era where 53% of parents say their child has now become ‘too reliant’ on technology with nearly seven in 10 (68%) concerned their children are spending too much time online.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, psychologist and Internet Matters ambassador has told of the importance of getting tailored advice. She said: “The figures highlight how lockdowns brought challenges for many parents and an increased reliance on technology became somewhat inevitable.

“The amount of tech children are consuming can feel overwhelming which, if not addressed, leads to a lack of confidence in helping them navigate it – negatively affecting both the wellbeing of the child and also, the parent.

“There isn’t a one-stop shop solution to children’s wellbeing in an online world, it is constantly evolving. Being equipped with the right tools at the right time allows parents to feel in control so they can confidently help their child build a positive online environment where they can process risk and develop coping strategies, which are essential in ensuring their long-term wellbeing online.”

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters said: “While protecting children’s wellbeing in the online world must be a priority, the rapid changing face of tech means it can feel like a mammoth task for parents.

“Having tailored information that is both age-appropriate and tech-specific not only stops parents from feeling overloaded but is crucial to ensuring children with different interests have their needs met.

“When parents feel equipped with the right knowledge and skills to keep their children safe, they are more likely to embrace the online world and encourage their children to take advantage of all the opportunities it has to offer. “

Get your own tailored toolkit here.

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