A recent global study conducted by Kaspersky has found that in a bid to promote self-regulation online, 52% of parents trust their kids to know when enough is enough. However, 70% of parents admit that they themselves spend too much time online, and almost three quarters (72%) feel that internet and mobile device usage in general is impeding family life.
There is little doubt that digital activities can be addictive, and seriously distract children from real-world adventure. But over half of modern parents trust their children when it comes to time dedicated to the internet, and what is more interesting is that this practice is more common among fathers. Fathers seem to be more trusting of their children to know when to take a break, with nearly three in five (57%) taking this approach, compared to less than half (48%) of mothers.
But it’s not just a matter of being trusted to turn off where parents relinquish control. 40% of them do not feel the need to control or oversee their children’s online activities or internet usage at all. This could be a risky strategy as, despite kids’ familiarity with online applications and navigating the internet, cyber-risks are only a click away.
Along with this approach to their children’s online activity, the survey also shows that parents are not restrictive about their own mobile phone habits or the amount of time spent on the internet, noting that 70% recognised they are somewhat addicted to the web.
Furthermore, 84% of them admitted that they have used internet connected or mobile devices in front of their child or children at home, and half of parents (51%) have sometimes allowed internet and mobile devices to interrupt a conversation with their children.
“Internet and digital services offer kids a wide range of engaging content, and can take ahold of their attention for a long time. It must also be remembered that the real world can be even more engaging, especially if parents are ready to invest their time and spend it together with kids, doing joint activities,” commented Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky.
“This time is actually even more important and valuable for families and friends, to connect, create special bonds and share memories,” she added.
To help your children allocate their time appropriately online, Kaspersky recommends the following measures:
- Show your care by putting down your device at moments when your children need your attention.
- If you feel your child is spending too much time online, don’t rush to put limits in place. Instead discuss it with them calmly, so as not to provoke a negative reaction which could do damage in the long term.
- Make leisure time more varied and appealing so your child actively wants to spend time away from their device. This could be trying out a new sport or doing more activities as a family.
- Discuss ground rules around social media use and other communications tools, so it does not affect school work or interaction with friends in the real world.
- Introduce rules for the whole family, so children don’t feel singled out or unfairly restricted in their internet use. This could include no phones at the dinner table, having a curfew on device usage or even leaving devices downstairs at bedtime.
- The Family edition of Kaspersky Security Cloud incorporates Kaspersky Safe Kids which will help to guard your family and private data, as well as protect your kids online and beyond.
For further advice on how to keep your children safe online, read renowned psychologist Emma Kenny’s post with her top tips on tackling online safety conversations here.