Parents less safe online than those without kids

September 7th 2015

69% of parents say that technology has made them worry more, but many are unsure how to best protect their families online. 

For information and advice on safeguarding children, click here.

This is one of the key findings in research released today from Norton by Symantec on the ‘Future of Parenting’ , whicih finds that eight in ten adults in the UK think the internet has changed the way families interact.

The majority see the positive impacts of technology and the internet on our daily lives with almost three quarters (74%) saying technology helps families stay better connected. However it is also causing worry and concern. More than half (61%) believe the internet has made the world a more dangerous place and the majority of Brits (95%) have concerns about children under 18 using the internet and new technology.
While two thirds (65%) of parents talk to their children about the risks they face online, it’s clear that the internet has made parents worry about their children more (69%). Cyberbullying (77%) and communicating with potentially dangerous strangers (74%) are the two biggest concerns for Brits.

Despite this, the research reveals that UK parents are less safe online than those who have no children. Only 48% of British parents use different passwords for different sites or devices, compared to 61% of non-parents. The same is true of opening emails from unknown senders, which only 57% of parents take care to avoid, compared to 69% of people without children.

Nearly half of UK parents (46%) admit to worrying that they don’t know what their children are doing online, with three in ten (29%) concerned that even if they do set parental controls, their kids will find a way around them. Of the 2002 individuals surveyed, 61 per cent believe that 11-16 year olds are the most vulnerable online. However over half of parents surveyed (53%) think their kids are sensible enough to avoid online dangers themselves.

Nick Shaw, General Manager, UK & Nordics, Norton by Symantec advises, “Educating children about how they can stay safe online plays an important part in making sure they have a positive experience with the internet. Staying safe online requires not only the right technology, but also the right conversations. It’s important to create a dialogue with children and treat their online activities in the same way as any other activity – by taking an interest and being a good role model.”

Key findings

– 61% of UK adults agreeing that the internet has made the world a more dangerous place than when they were growing up
– Six in ten consumers surveyed believe 11 to 16 year olds are most vulnerable online, in comparison to other age groups
– Two thirds of parents (65%) believe that some parents don’t worry enough about their children’s online activity
– 57% of parents take care not to open email from senders they don’t recognise as opposed to 69% of non-parents
– 48% of parents use different passwords for different sites or devices as opposed to 61% of non-parents
– Only 63% of parents have security software for their desktop/laptop as opposed to 72% of non-parents

Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online, added: “Children today are part of a digital generation, they simply do not know any different than to use technology and the internet. Whilst it may be second nature, it’s important that young people understand the risks and the boundaries they should observe. Like learning to ride a bike, or crossing the road, the most effective way to educate children is to start early and empower them to take more responsibility for their own safety. As such, we encourage parents to take an active role in understanding and educating their children about online safety. From the research it’s clear that parents still have the opportunity to improve in this regard, and we continue to working with Norton to support parents in this education process."

For further information about Family Online Safety please visit our new Norton UK blog. For more tips and advice see our Family e-Book and Norton Family resources site.


By Get Safe Online

Written by

In partnership with