Only 5.5 per cent believe their children are totally safe, with a further 18 per cent feeling somewhat safe. Nearly half of the parents questioned disagree with the statement that 'my kids are safe online". F-Secure found that despite the widespread availability of parental controls for Internet usage, parents are fearful about their children"s safety while using the Internet.
Fears for children"s safety were worst in Germany, where 77 per cent of parents disagreed that their children are safe online. People felt safest in the UK, where 38 per cent disagreed – however, only four per cent of UK parents felt their children were totally safe, compared to seven per cent in Canada and six per cent in the USA and France.
Children"s exposure to questionable material was also a major concern for parents around the world. Just 7.5 per cent strongly agreed that their children are not exposed to questionable material, with nearly half of respondents disagreeing with the statement 'my kids are not exposed to questionable material online". Parents in the US and Canada felt most confident that their kids are safe from such material, with 12 per cent in both countries strongly agreeing with the statement.
Parents in North America were also most confident that their children do not exceed time limits they set for time spent online: 27 per cent in the US and 23 per cent in Canada strongly agreed that their children keep to online usage time limits, with numbers dropping to 17 per cent in Europe, F-Secure"s research found.
“Parents are clearly aware of the potential dangers facing their children online, but it is saddening that more don"t feel empowered to protect their children by limiting their time online and controlling the content they"re exposed to," said Pär Andler, Director of Communications and Brand at F-Secure.
Andler continued: “Responsible parenting now includes being responsible for your children"s online safety, but this doesn"t need to be a major headache. Internet security software often comes with 'parental controls" as standard, so you can prevent children from being exposed to questionable content and take simple steps to avoid Internet mis-use, such as setting limits to the time children spend online. Parents are right to be cautious, but this should not prevent the family from taking full advantage of the fantastic opportunities the Internet can offer to children in terms of education, creativity and social connectedness."
For more information about F-Secure"s parental control tools, please visit http://www.wellness.f-secure.com/.