New research uncovers concerning trend in parental behavior towards child device ownership and use

With child internet safety concerns on the rise, a new study from AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the provider of Internet and mobile security, privacy and optimization to 172 million active users, has found that 64% of the parents surveyed with children under seven admit to letting them spend time on the internet while they are not in the room.  Worryingly, the results come as gadgets look set to be top of Christmas wish lists, with 33% of respondents claiming that they plan on buying their child a mobile device this year.

The survey, which questioned over 1,000 families across the US, Canada and the UK also discovered that 73% of respondents would consider giving their children a device that they had not used themselves and only 26% are currently using any kind of restricted profile or kid zones on their children’s devices despite 82% being aware of the option.

As parents struggle to manage their children’s device ownership and use, results highlighted the increasing pressure they feel under to buy their children the latest technology; with 40% of respondents admitting to feeling this way and ‘pester pressure’ from both their children (68%) and their children’s friends (52%).

There were, however, some positive indications that parents are at least starting to take more responsibility when it comes to the devices they give their children actively seeking guidance in the purchase stage and getting involved in the initial device setup. Of those questioned:

  • 89% research devices for children before buying them and 75% believe technology should come with age recommendations
  • 53% always read instructions for devices given to children and 62% are always involved in the device setup
  • 95% have spoken to, or plan, to talk about being safe online with their children

“Parents need to take a more active role regarding their children’s device usage at home and remember that their job does not end once the device is unwrapped,” said Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist, AVG Technologies. “To steal from an old adage, a device is for life, not just Christmas and it is of vital importance that parents take ongoing responsibility for making sure their children are using their devices in the safest way possible. With the right framework in place, families should be able to enjoy technology together and encourage children to learn, play and feel free to be themselves when using these connected devices.”

Methodology:
An online survey of 1,221 consumers was undertaken in the UK, US, and Canada. The survey was set up using Qualtrics and respondents were from Qualtrics’ online panel. Fieldwork took place in December 2013.

 

Mary Forman

Mary is an educator and a parent of three children. She is the author of 7 children's books, loves arts and crafts and teaches parenting classes at Washington Community College.

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