While 67pc of parents worry about what their children may come across online, just 37pc have installed software to block access to inappropriate websites, a new survey from Irish internet watchdog Hotline.ie suggests.
Behaviour and Attitudes conducted the survey with 1,000 people in Ireland on behalf of Hotline.ie. The survey also said that 82pc of parents wished there was a system to report unpleasant and illegal content to get it removed from the web.
“I’m shocked that so many concerned parents have not taken such basic precautions to protect their children from illegal online activity,” said Paul Durrant, Hotline.ie manager.
“The internet is a fantastic resource for children when used with care. Simple measures such as filtering software that restricts access to inappropriate sites can make the internet a safer place for children.
“Importantly, parents need to be warned that anti-virus software is not the same as filtering software,” he said.
Hotline.ie is a service run by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) supervised by the Department of Justice. It allows people to anonymously report suspected illegal content online, including child pornography, material causing incitement to hatred and phishing websites.
Durrant also gave 10 ways to help parents teach their children how to surf the web safely:
- Teach your children to "Think before you click" – don’t upload photographs or videos that compromise others (or yourself) as soon as you post a picture to the internet you lose control of it and can never get it back.
- Take an interest in what your children are doing online and talk to them about it – this helps you to find out what type of sites your child visits and what activities they do there.
- Ensure your computer’s anti-virus software is up-to-date (the licence will need to be renewed annually).
- Invest in parental control filtering software – this prevents your children accessing unsuitable sites.
- Teach your children not to give away personal information (or your personal information) as this can be used by criminals for identity theft.
- Encourage your children to tell you if anything happens online that "makes them feel uncomfortable".
- Talk to your children about unacceptable behaviour online, ie, cyber bullying.
- Contact your mobile operator about restricted services and dual access to your child’s mobile phone so that you can monitor its use.
- If you find people on social networks or chat asking your children to do things of an inappropriate sexual nature, keep calm and take all the details that you can (this can include taking a screen shot) and report it.
- Report online material that you suspect to be illegal to www.hotline.ie