When it comes to tech knowledge, many parents believe their children have overtaken them

Grace Macej 31 Aug 2022

55% of parents across the UK have expressed concern about the fact their children are more clued up about tech than they are.

We’ve recently conducted research that shows that over half of UK parents believe that their child is more digitally literate than them, with 55% expressing concern about this. Parents’ main concerns are about their children spending money without their knowledge, accessing inappropriate content, and speaking to strangers.

Our research, which surveyed a total of 2,000 UK parents of children aged 7 to 17, revealed some additional key facts:

  • More than 2 in 5 (42%) parents spend time trying to educate themselves on how to better use technical devices

  • 39% learn as much as possible about online safety in a bid to keep up with their children

  • Nearly half (46%) want more education and guidance from cyber security and online privacy providers

  • Surprisingly, over a third of Millennial parents who grew up with the internet think that their children navigate digital devices better than they do

Avast offers advanced antivirus and anti-tracking privacy protection features that prevent malware while blocking stalkers and advertisers from following your family’s online activity. Avast One provides an all-in-one service for everything you need to look after all your family’s devices in one premium and easy-to-use service. 

To get even further savings, take advantage of our Back-to-School Sale from now until September 15.

Internet usage rules leading to family conflicts 

While 83% of parents whose children have access to the internet let them use it unsupervised, with the average child starting at 10, two-thirds say they are worried about doing so while half (52%) admit to not having enough time to constantly monitor their activity.

This can put a strain on families, with two in three (66%) who allow their children access to the internet having arguments with them about what they get up to online. This is made harder when the child has a variety of tech, with 6 out of 10 (57%) parents believing multiple devices can make it more difficult to protect their online safety. Despite this, the average child who uses the internet has access to it through three devices and 2 in 5 (39%) have access to four or more. 

Making digital security accessible for today’s parents

Jaya Baloo, Chief Information Security Officer at Avast, comments, “Parenting in 2022 is getting more complex. From a young age, children are coming into contact with the internet and a variety of devices which allow them to access it. 

We understand children also face social pressure to connect with their friends online on different, sometimes questionable social platforms and that it is increasingly difficult for parents to keep up with technological advances and their children’s ever-growing knowledge of it. It’s time for parents to go back to school this September, not just their children.”

Marvyn Harrison, Parenting Influencer, and founder of Dope Black Dads, says, “My children are aged four and six and are already using numerous devices that have access to the internet. For parents who did not grow up with a similar experience, understanding how your child uses the internet and ensuring they can navigate it safely is imperative.

My children’s generation has so many opportunities to create and enjoy what the world has to offer, all through the power of the internet. By ensuring we stay educated on the ever-evolving world of the internet and the security and privacy products on offer, as parents we can help our children to exist online as safely as possible, and give ourselves peace of mind.”    

Our top online safety tips for parents and children

Our research demonstrates parents are naturally concerned that their children know more about the internet than them. Fortunately, there are straightforward steps and easy-to-use tools that parents can use to educate themselves and ensure their children can enjoy the many positive and educational aspects the internet has to offer. 

In order to educate parents on how to improve their digital literacy so they can help their children more safely navigate the internet, we’ve created a set of top tips on staying safe online ahead of the academic year.

1. Lead by example

Before you rush to implement the more technical advice below, consider spending quality family time online together to help you as a parent identify the content and platforms your children are accessing. Explain what personal information is, how sensitive data can exist online for a long time, and the risks of talking to strangers. Above all, create an atmosphere where children feel comfortable coming to you if they encounter something online that makes them feel upset or threatened.

2. Update your software

One of the most basic but important things you can do to keep you and your children safe online is to regularly update the software across all your devices. If you don’t download the latest update when they become available, your devices are open to attack due to the latest security gaps.

3. Be aware of phishing

It’s important to make your children aware of phishing scams and how to spot them. Your children may be targeted through gaming and social media. Tell your children never to give out personal information and to avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown senders.

4. Get to know your browser

Your browser has a lot to do with how safe you’ll be when you’re online. Browsers that are focused heavily on privacy and security such as Avast Secure Browser, have features built in to hide and protect your personal info, prevent hackers from stealing your data, and block ads for faster browsing and online learning.

5. Know what social media platforms your children are using

Social media is increasingly a part of children’s lives. Some apps such as BeReal allow young users to share their location coordinates with high precision. Don't forget to check the app's specific privacy and security settings. For example, the ability to set the account to private and only allow known users to access it, or the additional information the app collects such as location and other off platform data.

6. Use a password manager

Teach your children to set strong passwords for every login and website. A strong password should be long and complex, consisting of special characters, numbers, and lower and upper case letters. Using a separate password manager or one included in a secure browser is easy to set up and will significantly mitigate the risk of hacking.

7. Use adblock

Since it can be difficult for children to identify suspicious content online, installing an ad blocker as well as appropriate parental controls can aid them in browsing the web and avoiding malicious sites. 

From now until September 15, you and your family can benefit from savings during our Back-to-School Sale.

The research was conducted by OnePoll between August 12-19, 2022, polling 2,000 parents. 

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