Millions of parents ‘powerless’ to protect kids online

MILLIONS of parents feel powerless to protect their children online — even though 48 percent know their child has experienced cyberbullying at some point.

The study of 1,400 parents of children aged 6 to 18 found that 57 percent know little about how to keep their children safe, with 33 percent of them admitting they are not that tech-savvy.

Parents often find it difficult to monitor their children's online activities


Parents often find it difficult to monitor their children’s online activitiesPhoto credit: Unsplash

And 47 percent have little access to what their child is doing online because of locked phones and console passwords.

While 55 percent of parents who feel helpless are struggling to keep up with all the online channels their child can use.

The study, commissioned by The Diana Award, was released after Downing Street hosted a closed reception with charity ambassadors Rio Ferdinand, UK youth ambassador for mental health at the Department of Education, Dr. Alex George, and young anti-bullying ambassadors being trained by the charity.

The meeting with Number 10 took place while the Online Safety Bill is going through Parliament.

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According to the study, 46 percent of parents worry their child knows more about technology than older members of the house and can cover up problems.

58 percent of the children surveyed would not tell their parents if someone tried to bully them online.

And 45 percent are not sure whether their parents could still help them.

Diana Award spokesperson Alex Holmes said: “The online element of modern life can make bullying behavior much more complex.

“When many of today’s parents were young, bullying — while horrifying — was something that happened outside of or at school.

“Now, even the safe space that was once the home is increasingly threatened in today’s always-connected world, particularly where lockdowns and school closures have allowed bullying behaviors to permeate online life more and more.”

The study also found that 54 percent of parents recognize that they could be part of the problem – by sharing something online that could be construed as bullying or offensive and that their children could easily see.

And of those, six in 10 worry their child might repeat something they wrote or shared with another child online.

However, 67 percent of parents were confident that their children would approach them if they were being bullied online.

It comes after 32 percent of children said they would be likely to contact the site moderator or someone in charge of a game if they were exposed to online trolls.

While 22 percent would try to find a way to “get their attacker back”.

But 23 percent would ignore what was said and avoid going back online.

However, the results show that bullying is more common in real life than in the digital space, as 31 percent of the young people surveyed had a problem with someone in the real world.

This compares to 17 percent who have only experienced cyberbullying, while 19 percent have experienced both.

Teens also indicated that the most likely place they will see bullying is in the classroom by other students (31 percent).

Although 21 percent believe they have seen intimidation tactics used by teachers themselves at school, according to OnePoll figures.

And 26 percent have experienced unfriendly behavior on messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Discord.

To date, more than 40,000 young people in almost 5,000 schools across the UK and Ireland have been trained to be Anti-Bullying Ambassadors through the Diana Award, which aims to fight bullying and empower young people to make a difference.

The spokesperson added: “Our findings show that dealing with bullying can be overwhelming for parents, but it’s important they understand their role in their child’s safety without things being swept under the rug.

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“We encourage communication to not just rely on the child’s openness, but to flow both ways, with honest dialogue about acceptable forms of communication, both in real life and online.

“If you don’t know where to start, schools, parents and children can sign up for our Don’t Face it Alone campaign to receive free anti-bullying resources, help and support for all types of bullying behavior. We are here to help eradicate it.”

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Fry Electronics Team

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