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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

UK parents on kids' Net safety

A survey of UK parents of kids 5-15 with home Net access found that "only 8% of parents ... have implemented five of the most simple and important child safety guidelines." ISPA, the UK's Internet trade association which sponsored the survey, was referring to these five guidelines:

  • Use the Net in a high-traffic area of the house (38% of parents let their kids use the Net in a "private room").

  • Regularly remind kids of online safety rules (41% of those surveyed do, and 28% have never told their children not to give out personal info online).

  • Know who they're "talking" to online (13% of parents don't know if their child uses chat rooms, and of the 26% who know their kids do, 65% said they don't know who their kids' online friends are).

  • Surf the Net with your kids (63% frequently do, 23% never have).

  • Have online-safety software installed on computers kids use (32% of parents "have not enabled basic safety features such as Web and spam filtering; of the 68% who have enabled such features, "one in eight of them do not know if they have done so correctly").

    In its own survey timed to the UK's recent Parents Online Week, the British government had two questions that matched ISPA's: computer placement in the home (57% of parents have it in a high-traffic area, as opposed to ISPA's 38%) and parents and kids online together (44% do not allow their kids to use the Net without them, close to ISPA's 63% of parents who frequently use the Net with their kids). According to The Guardian, the government survey also found that a significant 64% of UK parents have banned their children from chatrooms. Also, 40+% said their biggest concern about their kids' Net use was the risk of them meeting a pedophile; 52% of parents want more government regulation of Net use; 58% called for more education on Net; and 73% believe the Net is "a great source of information."

    UK numbers are significant because Britain calls itself and is widely acknowledged to be the leading country in Internet safety work for children. Here's ISPA's press release on its survey.

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