91% of kids play online. Should parents be worried?

2 min read
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Think of the children

The internet is the ultimate double-edged sword. It’s filled with a ton of information, contact to cool people and wonderful experiences. Of course, it’s also an easy platform for trolling/bullying, access to predators and false information that has led to the rise of anti-vaxxers. Evil place, I tell you. Parents have reported that their kids play online, but they aren’t altogether happy about it.

According to research out of Get Safe Online, a third of parents feel out of control of kids’ online gaming. This makes sense considering that the most popular device for children’s gaming is tablet with 62% of parents reporting that their kids use these devices to play with the close second (47%) using phones. This means that the online activity is out of parents’ view, and probably out of their control.

The study found that 91% of parents say that their kids game online. Half of the parents polled (51%) worry about their child or children’s safety; a number that seems a bit low considering that 24% were unaware of the security risks to their children when playing online. It all seems like a bit of a mess – parents just don’t know enough about online security to protect their kids, especially when the younger generation are the ones who understand the technology better than they do.

While the advice is fairly common sense – talk to your kids, put security measures in place, educate yourself – I worry that most parents simply don’t know where to start. I know, how about getting them to play online using consoles instead? The games are better, and at least it’s harder to hide anything nefarious when it’s on the big screen in the middle of the lounge.

Really though, it’s a hard line to walk and parents at least need to be aware of the risks. As Tom Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online explains:

In most cases, online gaming is fun, social and harm-free. But we need to be realistic that kids are naturally going to want to play games with their friends, but parents are right to be showing some concern about a world they are perhaps not familiar with themselves. The risks range from downloading a computer virus, to bullying and even being targeted by an older predator with more sinister motives.

Retro consoles are looking more appealing every day.

Last Updated: July 21, 2015

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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