Today is Safer Internet Day. The aim is to promote safer and more responsible use of technology, especially amongst children and young people across the world. In keeping with the theme BullGuard carried out a survey to find out how parent’s think about their children’s use of technology. Unsurprisingly parents think their kids spend too long using technology. Surprisingly, perhaps in a fit of honesty, parents admit to doing the same. Read on.
 

A BullGuard survey of 2,000 parents with children aged between 8 and 12 revealed that most are actually supportive of their children’s technology usage and believe it equips them for the future. Ironically, quite a large number also tick off their kids for spending too much time glued to the smartphone or computer when they’re guilty of doing the same thing. It seems that some things in the kids and parent dynamic never changes.

Help?

It’s probably not too surprising that kids are often ahead of their mums and dads when it comes to finding their way around devices and apps. Over 50% of parents admit that they have to call on a child under 12 to help with IT issues “at least sometimes”, and 54% admit to their child being more tech-savvy than they are. But then we are talking about the digital generation, children that have grown up with technology; digital natives as Marc Prensky, a thought leader in education dubbed them.

Perhaps when you’re out and about you’ll notice how many people are glued to their smartphone. In fact smartphone usage has become so embedded in Western Society a whole raft of humour has surfaced. And let’s not mention the uniquely modern phenomenon of selfies. In fact, 44% of adults think their children spend too much time on a phone or tablet, and nearly 30% waste too many hours on social networking sites.

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Bringing to life

Furthermore, a high 80% of parents think their kids are growing up too quickly as the result of technology. But perhaps this is just one of those ever present parental anxieties that seep through the generations? It would be interesting to know how parent’s a hundred years ago thought of their offspring’s development.
 

That said there’s a positive feel towards technology usage in general with 76% of parents believing there is more to be gained for young people by using gadgets and technology. Perhaps some of you remember sitting in a stuffy classroom in the summer looking at an equation on the board, desperately trying to stay awake and wondering ‘why?’ Today’s technology can transform dry equations into 3D mathematical models lighting up the spark of natural curiosity in children and bringing a theoretical figure to life.

An education

Most parents at some level recognise this with the survey revealing that some of the positive effects of technology make kids more interested in homework (47%), help with research (61%) and enable them to learn interesting and useful things (50%).
 

42% also believe that learning to use technology from a young age is an “essential life skill”, with 87% acknowledging that it will give children a head start when entering the working world. In a world that is underpinned by computers and technology this is certainly true.
 

Refreshingly, 71% of parents trust their children to make good decisions, but there’s still a need to keep an eye on what they’re doing to make sure they don’t come across anything undesirable.

Staying safe

But children haven’t left their parents eating their dust just yet. The instinctive protective urge is still there, and justifiably so: 84% of respondents believe that parental controls would be helpful and ease their mind while their children are using the internet, providing a comfortable middle ground between supervision and acknowledging a child’s need to explore on their own.