How young is too young to be online? What supervision should families have in place?
These are the sorts of questions we get asked a lot at Family Zone.
While there is no right or wrong answer - and there are a number of valid views - the key is to ensure that regardless of ages, kids are accessing the internet with adequate protection in place.
Mobile technology and the internet has introduced many exciting opportunities into our children’s lives, from education to games to social engagement. However it has also introduced a range of new threats and dangers - cyberbullying, sexting, pornography and violence - right into the home.
The Family Zone team are parents too and our goal is to help families have peace of mind when their kids are online.
The Family Zone Cyber Safety Report interviewed over 800 Australian families
We asked families about their relationship with technology. It was a first for Family Zone, and helped us gain valuable insight into what is happening across homes in Australia.
We want to know what challenges and issues Australian families are facing when it comes to technology and their kids.
There were some of the findings - both interesting and some concerning;
- Children are starting to spend time online from as young as one years old
- More than half (53%) of Australian kids are actively online by the age of seven
- Three quarters (76%) of Australian parents said they were unsure or unaware if their children have accessed pornography or violent content online
- While almost three-quarters (74%) of Australian parents claim they know how to protect their children on their digital devices, the majority still had no parental controls in place to monitor content or limit screen time.
It is a worrying combination; unrestricted access to the internet and lack of parental controls are creating a generation of children who are accessing adult content from a young age, which can have a devastating effect on young minds.
The Cyber Safety Report supports that there is a misalignment between what parents think their children are doing online versus what they are actually doing online.
But it is not always deliberate, especially when it comes to younger children.
On many occasions, inappropriate content is accessed by young children entering the ‘tween’ phase and accidentally stumbling across inappropriate content using innocent search terms, which have adult connotations.
Anecdotal evidence from our Cyber Experts reveals common search terms that frequently turn up adult content include ‘wet and wild’, ‘pussycat’, ‘pussycat dolls’, ‘big girls toys’ and ‘big puppies’.
The rise of mobile phone use for children and the amount of time kids spend on their digital devices is another area of concern for Australian families. Results from the Family Zone Cyber Safety Report showed that the number one concern parents have in regards to kids using digital technology is that they are missing out on physical exercise and playtime. The second and third top concerns were children accessing pornography and being targeted by paedophiles.
With an ever changing digital landscape, it is easy to see why parents are anxious and have concerns. Family Zone is built by Australian parents for Australian parents - we all have the same concerns and we want to provide you with the tools to take control of your family's online activity and protect them.
Through our universal control platform, parents no longer have to feel helpless or frustrated, as all devices can be connected and monitored in and outside of the home. For further peace of mind and assistance, we also have a team of Cyber Experts who can recommend the best setting for each child, depending on age and interests.
Protecting your family from the dangers associated with technology can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Family Zone’s parental controls can provide you with peace of mind whenever your family is online.