Tuesday 23 January 2018

One in six parents do not understand their children's hi-tech gadgets

Photo posed: Thinkstock
Photo posed: Thinkstock

Richard Alleyne

THE DIGITAL divide between children and adults appears to have widened with only one in six parents understanding the gadgets used by the younger generation, a new survey has found.

It also discovered that more than two thirds of children are allowed to watch films seen as unsuitable for their age and a quarter play computer games that are classified for older people.

The report was compiled by the ParentPort website which was jointly set up by bodies including the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Press Complaints Commission and the Office of Communications (Ofcom).

It found that one in six – 16pc – of parents admitted buying their children a device or gadget that they did not fully understand how to use.

The report, on how parents control their children's access to adult media, said a quarter of children were allowed to play games classified above their age, and 40pc were allowed to watch films above their age limit.

The online survey featured 1,800 respondents from the UK's two largest online parenting communities, Mumsnet and Netmums.

ParentPort said it revealed the "challenges and pressures parents face when it comes to keeping the media their children see age-appropriate".

More than four-fifths – 82pc – of parents said they closely supervised what films and television programmes their children watch, and 77pc said they always or usually know what websites their children visit.

But parents were also concerned about their children being given smartphones and laptops as gifts which would give them unsupervised access to the internet, and inappropriate 18-rated video games.

ParentPort was set up in October last year to make it easier for parents to complain about inappropriate content across the media.

Ed Richards, the Ofcom chief executive, said: "This survey reveals the challenges facing parents when it comes to their children's use of the media.

"ParentPort now gives parents an easy way to register their concerns with the media regulators who work to protect children from inappropriate material."

Guy Parker, ASA Chief Executive said: "Parents, carers and guardians play an important role as the first line of defence in deciding what's appropriate for their children to see.

"But quite rightly, they expect support from media regulators, which is why ParentPort is such a valuable resource to help us understand parents' views. We encourage parents to take full advantage of it."

Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Champion said: "The world of media is speeding up and changing shape and anything that helps people navigate the new landscape is to be welcomed."


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