Over a third of parents worry about their child’s online safety, research finds

More than a third of parents (34%) worry about their child's online safety – but 49% admit they don't know what rules to set in order to ensure their youngsters are safe when using the internet.

Nearly half of mums and dads (45%), with kids aged between four and 13, struggle to know how much internet freedom a child should have – with four in five saying they would allow their child access to the internet before the age of 13.

And one in ten, of the 1,000 parents polled, admit they don't set any online safety rules for their offspring – with just 32% putting controls in place to monitor videos or images their child posts on social media.

However, of those who do set rules for their youngsters, the top guideline is to never accept requests from strangers – followed by not sharing personal information, like their address.

The survey was commissioned by Tesco Mobile and Internet Matters to launch the Little Digital Helps Toolkit.

Rachel Swift, Tesco Mobile chief customer officer, said: “We know the importance of staying connected, and the opportunities technology can unlock for children.

“But it’s clear from this research that many families face challenges knowing how to keep their children safe online.”

The study also found that the parents polled didn't have access to the internet until they were 19, on average – with more than half (52%) blaming their uncertainty about internet freedom on these sorts of safety guidelines not being around when they were young.

And 76% simply wish the world was as simple for children as it used to be, when online safety was never a problem.

Carolyn Bunting MBE, Internet Matters Co-CEO, said: “Giving your child their first mobile can be a difficult decision.

“That’s why we’re delighted to have partnered with Tesco Mobile, to create the Little Digital Helps Toolkit – a place where parents can go to receive tailored advice and guidance on setting the right controls for their children’s devices and online activity.

“The personalised advice will give parents the peace of mind and reassurance that they have set up their child’s device in a safe and age-appropriate way.”

The toolkit offers guidance on how to protect children from excessive screen time, consuming fake news, spending money online, being exposed to inappropriate content, online grooming, and cyberbullying.


  1. Don't accept requests from strangers
  2. Don't share personal information
  3. Don't share your address
  4. Ask permission before downloading anything
  5. Don't pay for anything online
  6. Don't put any bank card details online
  7. Only talk to real-life friends or family members
  8. Don't share any personal information on social media platforms
  9. Don't accept friends on social media platforms if you don't know them
  10. Don't call people names/be horrible in group chats

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