Childcare and Parenting
New global report reveals startling statistics about online family behaviour.
Symantec Corp (Nasdaq: SYMC), makers of Norton security software, have released the first volume of the Norton Online Living Report (NOLR) revealing that, more than ever, adults and children around the world are getting emotionally and socially connected online - including dating, friendship and playing – as well as for information and communication. The NOLR, undertaken by Harris Interactive, revealed some startling statistics about how Internet-Age technologies have affected families across the world.
Up to half of online adults worldwide and up to 40 per cent of online children worldwide have made friends on line, with 72 per cent of responding UK adults having translated at least one online friend to an offline friend. In the UK, 43 per cent of online adults and 26 per cent of children enjoy their online relationships as much or more than their offline friendships. This indicates a major shift in how people relate to one other and provides potential clues for the future of human interaction.
Another common theme worldwide reveals that parents’ perception of what their children are doing online does not reflect the reality of what their children say they are doing. For example, one in five responding children admit to conducting activities online that they know their parents would not approve of with 24 per cent of UK online children spending tenfold or more time online than their parents think they do. The survey revealed that 72 per cent of responding parents in the UK are concerned about their children’s activities online, with 25 per cent having no idea about what their children are doing on the internet.
This can have shocking consequences: Five times as many children online in the UK have been approached by a stranger online than their parents believe. In UK, adults believe that four per cent of children have been approached online by a stranger. The actual per cent reported by UK online children is 20.
Online parents are recognising the social and informative benefits of the Internet both for themselves and their children yet few are setting parameters and implementing controls to ensure children remain safe on line. Worldwide, half or less of online parents, or 37 per cent in the UK, have set parental controls on their family computers. Around seven in 10 UK online parents are concerned about their children being approached with inappropriate content or solicitations but only four in 10 have spoken to their child on safe Internet practices, despite the UK having the highest number of children (87 per cent) claiming to be comfortable talking to their parents about their on line experiences.
Commenting on the research, Chris Kelly, Chief Privacy Officer from Facebook said: “Facebook recognizes the importance of helping parents to understand the online world that our children are growing up in and to provide practical advice on how people can replicate their offline controls, online. Our technology has been designed to replicate real-world connections online, with the ability to select personal privacy settings and provide complete user control.”
Caroline Cockerill, Norton Online Safety Advocate for Symantec, said: “The Norton Online Living Report highlights how the boundaries have blurred between the online and offline worlds and the effect this is having on our families and as individuals.”
“As parents, we need to balance our concerns about child safety online while allowing children the freedom to explore without fear of what they may find. In order to make our children’s time online as safe as possible, there are a number of recommendations to follow. Installing and constantly updating Internet security software is a key factor in helping to shield our families from a variety of unwanted materials, but the protection does not stop there.
Now more than ever it is important that parents fully understand the rich online world that children have access to, and are aware of the social as well as technological measures that need to be undertaken to ensure that they are protected. This begins with an awareness of the Web sites that our children now use on a daily basis, and an open and frank discussion about the online risks which children may face.”
The Norton Online Living Report is the world’s most comprehensive report on the digital lifestyle habits of adults and children, cataloguing the astonishing migration of offline activities to the online world. The report examines data from eight countries including UK, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S., to reveal surprising cross-cultural differences, and similarities, when it comes to interacting with technology.
For more information on the Norton Online Lifestyle Report please visit www.norton.com/onlineliving, or for further information on Symantec’s online safety education initiatives log on to www.norton.com/uk/familyresource.
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A new practical parenting book uses the current revival in crafts to help families improve positive communication with their children. And the authors promise there’ll be no mention of the naughty step.
Celebrating Families by Helen Sanderson and Maye Taylor (HSA Press) presents parents with simple techniques for exploring their family relationships and then working together to explore and record their observations in creative and memorable ways.
Practical, crafty activities detailed in the book include making a family serving dish which records what the family loves about each other, creating a one-page profile with your child, making a memory quilt and filling a picture frame with Fimo images of your child’s favourite things.
Each of the nine chapters is based on stories told by real families and features children aged from three months to 16 years-old. The book introduces stories from real life families of all shapes and sizes, including single parent families, mixed-race couples and families with disabled children.
Author Helen Sanderson is a PhD psychologist, but says she has written the book as a parent and a professional.
“In my professional life I have learned may techniques for exploring relationships and improving communication through person-centred planning,” she said.
“As a mother of three, I found myself introducing these into my own family life and realised that they could be useful for every family.”
Co-author Maye Taylor, also a PhD psychologist and parent added: “As a parent you have a definite place: in the wrong. Not only will your children tell you that, but so will the experts.
“This is a kind of warts-and-all book which celebrates the family without a single mention of the naughty step or time out!
“It is published in the spirit of ‘this worked for us, we hope it’ll work for you’”.
Celebrating Families retails at £14.95 and is available from Amazon and selected booksellers