British Children More Digitally Literate Than Parents

Over half of British parents believe their children have overtaken them when it comes to tech knowledge.


52% of UK Parents Believe Their Child Is More Digitally Literate Than Them

Over half (52%) of UK parents believe that their child is more digitally literate than them, with 55% expressing concern at this. The research by Avast, a global leader in digital security and privacy, found parents’ main concern to be children spending money without their knowledge (59%), followed by accessing inappropriate content (50%), and speaking to strangers (37%).

40% of adults believe their children navigate digital devices better than them, including a surprising 35% of Millennials who grew up using the internet and are likely more digitally savvy than other generations. In addition, 63% of parents admitted they turn to their children to show them how to do things online.


Trying to Regain Parental Control

In a bid to retain control over how their children use the internet, nearly two thirds (64%) of parents are implementing parental controls on devices to which their child has access; however, well over half of them (61%) admitted that their children have managed to bypass these controls. This might explain why over one in five parents (23%) don’t bother with parental controls; with a quarter (24%) of parents believing their child will just bypass them anyway. However, a fifth of this group (21%) don’t know how to set them up properly, highlighting the need for more education and support for parents on the topic of online child safety, and a third (33%) believe having conversations with their children about how they can safely navigate the web is enough.

Teaching Parents to Become More Digitally Literate

The poll of 2,000 parents of children aged 7 to 17 revealed that more than 2 in 5 (42%) parents spend time trying to educate themselves on how to better use technical devices, while 39% learn as much as possible about online safety in a bid to keep up with their children. However, nearly half (46%) want more education and guidance from cyber security and online privacy providers, and 39% would like easier-to-use privacy products.

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 (67%) 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 2 in 3 (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.

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.

“Our research demonstrates parents are naturally concerned that their children know more about the internet than them but 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.

“It’s time for parents to go back to school this September, not just their children. To help, we have created a number of resources and tools to help parents and our ‘Back to School’ blog has a set of tips that parents can follow to ensure they’re working with their child to create the safest environment possible on the web.”


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