Study finds 22% of children have seen online content 'they wouldn't want parents to know about'

Study Finds 22% Of Children Have Seen Online Content 'They Wouldn't Want Parents To Know About'
CyberSafeKids, an online safety charity, revealed the research findings to mark Safer Internet Day.
Share this article
James Cox

Half of children admit they spend too much time on the Internet, while 22 per cent have accessed online content 'they wouldn't want their parents to know about', according to a new survey.

CyberSafeKids, an online safety charity, revealed the research findings to mark Safer Internet Day.


Same Rules Apply is an online safety parental awareness campaign, which "highlights the need to approach parenting children online in the same way that we approach parenting them offline".

Devised with the National Parents Council, CyberSafeKids has created a video which challenges the arbitrary distinction between 'offline' and 'online' worlds, asking: "As parents, we'd never allow this to happen offline, so why allow it online? Giving your child unsupervised access to the online world means you’re also giving the online world unsupervised access to your child. Remember, online or offline, Same Rules Apply."

Sponsored by Accenture, the campaign emphasises that the same parenting rules should apply in the online world as apply in the offline world.


According to CyberSafeKids latest survey of over 1,600 8–12 year-olds between September 2022 and January 2023; 30 per cent of children can 'go online whenever they want', 22 per cent have seen content online that they 'wouldn't want their parents to know about'. A quarter (25 per cent) of children said they were 'not allowed online before bedtime' and 3 per cent of children said they are 'never allowed to go online'.

Some positive findings from the survey included: 43 per cent said they were 'not allowed to chat or game with strangers'. Over half (56 per cent) said they were not allowed to add 'friends I don't know' and almost a third (29 per cent) said they were 'allowed online at certain times'. When compared by gender, the study found that a higher percentage of boys than girls had no rules in place for going online (24 per cent vs 14 per cent of girls).

There were some interesting responses to how the children view their online life demonstrating a high level of self-awareness for such a young age:

  • Half (50 per cent) told us that they felt they 'spend too much time online' vs 42 per cent who said that they don't spend too much time online.
  • A quarter (25 per cent) said that they 'find it hard to switch off from games and apps' which is consistent with our last survey.
  • 22 per cent said that they 'waste a lot of time online'.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by