Most 5 year olds already use an Internet enabled device

Children as young as five have easy access to an internet enabled device. A One Poll study of 2,000 parents of children aged 5 to 15 also shows six parents in ten frequently let their child surf the web without any adult supervision.

Incredibly, a quarter of children aged just five years old have been left alone while using the computer, as have 40 per cent of six year olds, and 51 per cent of seven year olds. Consequently, one in six parents have been shocked to discover their child had seen unsuitable content such as adult websites, content on eating disorders and social networks.

14 per cent of children under ten had approached their parents about things they were worried about online and of these, 30 per cent had accidentally stumbled upon pornographic images.

As many children start school for the first time, there’s more reason than ever to ensure that your child is educated about the potential dangers of the internet.

The study shows only 45 per cent of parents have had a serious conversation with their child before they started accessing the internet via a computer or smart phone, about what they should and shouldn’t be looking at online. And only 56 per cent of parents believe their child knows how to use the internet properly and confidently.

But despite the lax attitude to internet safety, two thirds of parents still admit they think the internet poses more of a threat today than five years ago. And while parents are worried about what their children are looking at, 50 per cent haven’t taken any sort of preventative measures, to ensure their child can’t access inappropriate content. These measures could include tools to manage the amount of time a child spends on the internet, block inappropriate content and filter explicit language.

A third of parents are even shirking responsibility, claiming the media should be responsible for educating children how to stay safe online.

Raj Samani, CTO at McAfee EMEA, said: “Today it is not uncommon to see children or even toddlers playing games on a parent’s smartphone or tablet device. Children are increasingly technology savvy, yet their perceptions of danger are not fully developed. It’s crucial for parents to educate their children about how to stay safe online and also make sure that they have the appropriate blocks and controls installed on any device that might be used by a child.”

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