1 in 5 UK parents “never” talk to their children about online safety, according to new survey

As many as 1 in 5 parents in the UK do not talk to their child about staying safe online, and only around half regularly chat to their young ones about possible risks on the internet, according to a new survey by National Online Safety.

The multi-award-winning online safety training and resources provider carried out a poll of more than 1,100 parents and carers in the UK, which found just 54% have a conversation with their child about staying safe online at least once a month.

In addition, almost one fifth (18%) of parents admitted that they NEVER speak to their young ones about the potential hazards of the digital world.

To coincide with results of the survey, National Online Safety has produced four new video training courses specifically for parents and carers. Presented by musician and broadcaster Myleene Klass, they are intended to give adults a firmer grasp of common online safety issues – and the increased confidence to discuss them with their child.

Most parents naturally try to stay on top of events in their child’s school life or their friendship groups – but those catch-up chats often don’t extend to young people’s online activities.

James Southworth, Director of National Online Safety, said: “Adults might avoid those conversations for all sorts of reasons – they could feel that their child’s still too young, for example, or they might assume that young people know about online safety already.

“Sometimes, parents can find it difficult or awkward to talk to children about certain online issues. Most often, people simply don’t feel they understand enough about online hazards themselves to advise their children.

“Most people know someone or have heard of someone – a parent or a child – who's fallen foul of online scams or harms. Our mission is to empower parents to take back control of these conversations.”

Each of the parents’ courses covers a different developmental phase, broadly aligned to schools’ Key Stages (3–7 years; 7–11; 11–14; and 14–18). Segmenting the material in this way allows a closer look at how young people typically engage with the digital world at specific ages, and a tighter focus on the online threats they are likely to encounter at each phase.

With content compiled by National Online Safety’s experts, the courses feature valuable insights and practical suggestions for avoiding or dealing with common online threats – from screen addiction to scams, and from explicit material to echo chambers.

Parents can stream these videos to their device for FREE, if their child’s school is a National Online Safety member. School membership also gives parents free access to a selection of National Online Safety’s award-winning resources, including the popular #WakeUpWednesday information guides.

Myleene said: “As a mum, I want my kids to feel safe online – to express themselves; have fun; learn and enjoy the benefits the online world has to offer. However, I also want my kids to be aware of the risks, to feel like they can talk freely and to know they’ve got support – from me – if they need it.

“So teaming up with National Online Safety to produce these fantastic parent courses really was a no-brainer. They’re short, easy to understand and packed full of brilliant advice: they’re a great starting point to get the conversation going, especially if you’re not up to speed with the online world. The thing I really like is that you can learn at your own pace, on any device, by watching them at a time that suits you.”

Learn more about our brand-new online safety course, presented by Myleene Klass
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