Safer Internet Survey Scotland
Safer Internet Day survey reveals Scottish parents are failing to protect their children from the threats posed by new technology Westcoastcloud survey also reveals parents worries about sexual content and online grooming Worrying statistics have emerged about the lack of protection for children in Scotland when they surf the internet at home. Westcoastcloud Westcoastcloud A survey carried out by Glasgow-headquartered web security company Westcoastcloud for UK Safer Internet Day (Feb 7) reveals that although half of parents in Scotland have installed software to protect their children from accessing unsuitable content when they use desktop PCs and laptops in the home, only 1 in 4 has installed similar protection on the mobile phones, games consoles and television services their kids also use in the house. Yet 1 in 5 parents questioned said they had been concerned about something that had happened to their child while they were using the internet at home. Bill Strain, Director of Westcoastcloud, says: “Whilst it’s encouraging that fifty per cent of parents in Scotland are being more vigilant about the risks their children face when going online on a computer or laptop, many of them are still failing to recognise that in our increasingly mobile world, the same level of protection needs to be provided when their children are accessing the internet via their mobile phones, the television and while they’re gaming. It’s also interesting that parents are continuing to worry about the explicit and sexual content their children can access online. It’s so easy for kids to stumble across age-inappropriate material even if they’re just flicking through the TV channels, so parents do need think about protecting across every internet-connected device in the home.” Westcoastcloud’s survey was commissioned to coincide with Safer Internet Day which is taking place across the UK today (7 Feb) under the slogan ‘Discovering the digital world together safely.’ David Wright from the UK Safer Internet Centre said: “While the internet is such an amazing resource, just like life it carries risk, not least for children with cyberbullying and adult content. Surveys like this demonstrate that online safety is a real issue for parents and that parenting in the 21st century is very different to that compared to the 20th century.” The survey, carried out by leading market research company OnePoll for Westcoastcloud, questioned five hundred parents with children between 5 and 16 years of age across the six cities of Scotland about their attitudes towards keeping them safe online in the home. While 49% said they had installed parental controls (filtering and blocking software) on computers and laptops their children used in the house, only 24% had done the same on mobile phones used at home. When asked whether they’d activated parental controls on games consoles like the Xbox or PlayStation, only 27% said they had, while only 24% had activated parental controls on their Sky TV or Freeview boxes. Almost 1 in 10 had not installed any internet protection software at all. The parents questioned in the Westcoastcloud survey also revealed that they were worried about the sort of content their children come across on the internet. Almost 60% said they were worried about the explicit sexual content their children could come across; 50% said they were worried about online grooming by paedophiles; 47% said they were worried about online bullying and 45% were concerned about graphic violence online. Almost 1 in 4 (24%) said they were also concerned about the moderate nudity and sexual content in music videos and on showbiz websites. When asked how they rated their knowledge of how to keep their children safe online 68% admitted they weren’t completely confident, with 25% confessing that their knowledge was poor or that they left the issue of internet safety to their children because they knew more about it. Bill Strain, director of Westcoastcloud, explained: “There are many things parents can do to keep their children safe on the internet. The first and most important thing you can do is talk to your children to make them aware that the internet can expose them to all sorts of wonderful things but also all sorts of unsuitable things and get them to understand the risks.