Digital safety

REPORT: Parents need more support with kids digital safety tools

While controls to monitor and manage the online experience of kids exist, parents may require more awareness and guidance on how to implement them.
July 20, 2022

Parents are eager to limit what their kids see and how long they spend on their devices, but many don’t know how to set up parental controls, according to new data from Kids Industries (Ki).

The London-based research agency surveyed 2,001 parents of kids ages five to 15 in the US and UK. Overall, roughly a quarter of them (23%) don’t use any internet controls to protect their kids, despite feeling concerned about rising screen time.

The report indicates that parents need more support to gain technical knowledge and awareness of the most effective online safety tools available, said Ki CEO Gary Pope in a release.

The findings confirm that US and UK kids have access to multiple smart devices, and the majority (78%) are able to use both a smart TV and a smartphone. The percentage of parents who implemented tools varied across different platforms and devices.

Only about one in four parents (29% in the US and 21% in the UK) reported using game console settings or built-in device settings on smartphones, PCs and other gadgets.

Just over a third (36%) said they have implemented controls across streaming services used by their kids, with 33% using controls for web browsers. Just 14% of parents said they use a dedicated paid app/software to manage child access to smartphones, and 19% use a dedicated free app/software.

More than half of parents surveyed said their main reason for using controls was to prevent kids from seeing harmful/inappropriate content. Among other reasons, 38% of parents reported using controls to manage screen time, and 37% said they use tools to manage their children’s spending on apps and games.

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