Last year's summer holidays posed big dangers for kids online. Even when they didn’t go looking for trouble, Family Zone figures show, trouble came looking for them. This year’s numbers are expected to go even higher.
Australia-wide, almost half of children under 18 tried to access porn during last year’s Christmas holidays, according to data collected from thousands of users of Australia’s leading cyber safety provider.
The data shows that these children would have been exposed to pornography either deliberately or inadvertently, before being blocked by Family Zone.
“Our data show that our children are facing unprecedented dangers online, even if they are only viewing seemingly harmless content,” notes dad and Family Zone managing director Tim Levy.
“Younger children aren’t generally searching for inappropriate material on the internet. Their first exposure usually comes innocently, while they are watching or interacting with sites and apps that parents think are safe.
“That’s why parental controls are so important. They allow parents to manage their child’s screen-time automatically - on every device, wherever they may be, ” he said.
Summertime means screen-time
A major reason for the spike in online risks is simply that, when school’s out, kids spend more time online - up to 28 hours a week online during the holiday period, our data show.
And keep in mind, that’s among kids whose parents are already using Family Zone to manage screen-time.
Family Zone cyber expert and clinical psychologist Jordan Foster, director of ySafe, warns that free time can all too easily translate directly to screen-time. That can add up alarmingly.
“From observations I’ve made working in schools and clinical practice, my conservative estimate would be at least a 6-hour daily increase is typical,” Foster says.
Because most Australian children spend about two hours of leisure time on devices during the school year - that blows out to a grand total of eight hours a day during the holidays.
Online safety made simple
Foster and other cyber experts report increasing concerns by parents about the quantity and quality of their children’s online activities - “and many have no idea how to control and limit their kids’ devices” notes educator David Kobler of NSW-based youth consultancy Protect Your Kids.
“The majority of parental control products are confusing, expensive and too easy for kids to avoid, creating a complex problem for families and schools attempting to manage young people’s online behaviour,” he adds.
Family Zone’s strong, flexible online control tools are a stand-out in this respect, says Kobler, which is why he recommends them as the number-one choice for Australian parents.
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