Parents use low-tech safety methods for kids online

27 Sep 2007

Some 84pc of UK parents adopt a simple approach to monitoring their children’s online activity — they just take their offspring’s word for it that they surf sensibly and don’t visit risky sites.

This tech-free strategy was uncovered by broadband comparison site When it polled parents across the UK, verbal agreement with their children on internet usage came out as the No 1 means of monitoring online behaviour.

This comes in the wake of a British Government report that one in four children has put themselves in potential danger by secretly meeting strangers they have contacted online.

“It’s surprising that so many people rely heavily on their child doing what they ask — it just isn’t going to happen in most cases and the Government’s research proves this,” said Michael Phillips, product director of

“However, there are a few simple steps parents can take to bolster protection for their child when online. Rather than relying on a single approach, they should use parental control and security software, combined with education, to stop inappropriate material — and people — reaching their child.”

The research showed that the top four ways parents monitor their child’s online activity are (in descending order): a verbal agreement to use the internet safely; the use of parental control software such as McAfee and Norton; restricting the amount of time children spend online; and manually checking the computer to see what they have been doing online.

By Niall Byrne