Is your child safer playing outside than online?

July 25th 2016

Over a third of parents think their child is safer playing outside than online

For information and advice on safeguarding children, click here.

– A third (34%) of parents have no parental controls in place to try and keep their children safe online
– those proactive parents using controls, two thirds (69%) will block their children from inappropriate content, and a third (36%) will monitor their child’s access to devices
– More effort being made to talk to children about the potential dangers and risks online

With school summer holidays upon us, many children will be spending more time than usual online. Research amongst 1,000 UK parents of 4-18 year olds by YouGov and commissioned by Get Safe Online*  has revealed that this is a key concern. Over a third (37%) of parents said that they felt that their children will be safer playing outside than online, yet despite this, over a third (37%) have no parental controls in place to try and keep their children safe online.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, commented: “Technology is now a given for children, but the online world changes so fast – we’ve seen that over the last few weeks with the mass uptake of Pokémon GO which now brings the online world into physical environments and a whole new set of risks. Our children in are growing up to be extraordinarily tech-savvy which does make it difficult for parents to keep control of what they are doing online. And we can see that many are worried about the risks their kids face when they are browsing, playing games and watching content on computers and other devices. Last year, Ofcom found that over half of 3-4 year olds and three-quarters of 12-15 year olds were using tablets**.”

The research found that many parents are already using a range of different tactics to help protect their children from a variety of risks, including watching inappropriate content to being bullied online:

Tech savvy tactics

– Two thirds (69%) block their children from inappropriate content
– A third (36%) monitor their child’s access to devices like smart phones and tablets 
– A third (36%) use free parental controls offered by the four ISPs
– More than half (29%) use safe browsers like Google SafeSearch

Talk it through

– Half of parents (52%) tell their children to steer clear of pop ups or links online
– 39% tell their child what to do if approached by a stranger online
– Less than half (41%) will talk to their child about what to do if they experience bullying online

A traditional take

– Almost a quarter (23%) of parents will restrict access to certain activities like homework
– Almost half (47%) will keep devices in places easily seen by the whole family
– 44% will agree a list of appropriate websites with their child

“It’s promising to see that parents are beginning to use a variety of measures to educate their children about online safety, by having open and honest conversations with them about the potential risks and dangers and setting down clear rules – and also using technology controls. But over a third still aren’t using the tools available to monitor usage and block, and even more worryingly, not even talking to their children about online stranger danger,” continued Neate.

“For all parents, technology can be a real blessing in keeping their children busy and entertained over the long summer holidays. And right at the start is a great time to make sure you have clear conversations with children about the risks of being online as well as look into some of the technology tools you can use to help. These tools are surprisingly easy to use, we have details of what is available and how to use them on” 

We at Get Safe Online recommend that all parents take at least the following steps to protect their children online. Comprehensive expert, impartial, practical, free advice can be found on this website.

– Talk regularly with your child about their online lives

– Guide your family – in the same way that you do in other aspects of their day-to-day lives

– Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and rules for your children from a young age

– Try out some of the technologies your child enjoys for yourself

– Speak to friends, family and other parents about their approach to keeping their children safe online. Exchanging experiences can be highly valuable

– Use parental controls on computers, mobile devices and games consoles as well as privacy features on social networking sites and safety options on Google / other search engines. Opt into your ISP’s family filters

– Install reputable parental control software and apps to help ensure age-appropriate online activity and monitor your child’s internet usage

– Stay aware of changes in your child’s behaviour or moods, as it may be a sign that your child is being bullied, harassed or abused online

– Try not to rely purely on technology to keep your child safe online, instead use it to support you in setting the limits and build a dialogue with your child

– Remember that social networking and picture sharing sites have minimum age limits – find out what they are and make sure your child isn’t using age-inappropriate networks and apps

– As your child grows up, make sure they’re aware of the basics of online safety, such as not clicking on links in emails and instant messages, good password practice, not turning off internet security programs / apps and firewalls and not revealing personal information

– For more information on what you need to know about Pokémon GO, the following web page has all the latest online safety tips and advice:

Report it

– For advice, help or to make a report of what you believe to be a case of attempted or actual child exploitation, visit the CEOP (Child Exploitation & Online Protection) Safety Centre

To report a crime against a child, contact your local police force 

– If you think you or your child has been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting


*Total sample size was 6406 adults of which 1263 are parents of children (aged 4-18 years old). Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th – 15th July. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)

**Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report, November 2015:


By Get Safe Online

Written by

In partnership with