1.2 Million School Children in UK Have Accessed Inappropriate Content on their Mobile Phone
January 30th, 2012
Parents warned of the risks posed by smartphones as Carphone Warehouse launches new campaign to help protect children
Carphone Warehouse has today released new research looking into the mobile web behaviour of 8 -15 year olds in the UK. The survey compiled by YouGov revealed:
• 2.8 million children have a smartphone – including almost a million 8-12 year olds (25%)
• More than one in five (21%) children admit to having accessed websites featuring unsuitable content via their mobile phone – intentionally and accidentally
• 87% of children are aware they do not have parental restrictions on their mobile phones
• Carphone Warehouse have teamed up with Professor Tanya Byron to launch a free advice booklet for families,
Today, the UK’s largest phone retailer, is urging parents to be more vigilant when it comes to their childrens’ use of mobile phones. While children are increasingly able to access the same content on their mobile phones as their home computers, only 13% of children have security settings installed on their smartphones. When questioned about home computers/laptops the study revealed 44% had parental restrictions and 84% had anti-virus software, however the same care isn’t applied to mobile phones. It appears many parents are not informed on the options available as 46% of parents are unaware of the necessary controls to protect children’s mobiles.
One in five (21%) children have accessed inappropriate websites via their mobile phone, rising to a third (33%) of 14-15 year olds. Whether it’s intentionally digging out inappropriate websites, or stumbling across websites and/or content, many children are seeing, reading and viewing matter that they know is only meant for adults. Moreover, the study shows many children also confess to having already got in trouble with parents and teachers for accessing websites on their mobile phones they knew they shouldn’t have been looking at.
Furthermore, compared to Carphone Warehouse’s last study in 2008, the number of children watching ‘online videos or video clips’ on their mobile phones has more than doubled from 15% to 36%. With the majority not having any restrictions in place, this leaves them exposed to a range of inappropriate content.
Cyber bullying via mobile phones is also a concern, with 18% of 15 year olds admitting to bullying (6%) or being victim to bullying by calls or messages on their mobile phone (12%). Additionally, using mobile phones for social networking has dramatically increased amongst children. In the past 3 years, the number of children accessing social networking sites on their mobile phones has increased almost eight fold from just 5% in 2008 to 38% in 2011; making it now the second most popular online mobile activity. The most popular activity is playing games (73%).
Carphone Warehouse is working with Professor Tanya Bryon, who has been advising the Government on child internet safety since 2007, to develop a free advice booklet for parents to educate on the security measure available.
Professor Tanya Byron, said “The online world is incredibly fascinating and exciting to explore, with huge opportunities for learning, communicating, playing and being creative. However just as in the real world, alongside the opportunities, there are potential risks for young people. With a digital divide existing between generations, and with only 13% of children having the correct parental restrictions installed on their phone, it’s important we enable parents to support, educate and, as necessary, protect their children. This can be done by ensuring their mobile phone use is responsible, safe and as secure as possible. It is also important parents develop an honest communication with their children so that they can support them to be responsible digital citizens and help them with any worries or concerns that should arise.”
Andrew Harrison, CEO of Carphone Warehouse, said “With the increase in smartphones, online content and apps, children are increasingly wanting the newest smartphones and now it’s common place to see them in classrooms. 91% of all mobile phones used by children were bought for them by parents or relatives. We are working with Professor Tanya Byron to develop a free booklet full of useful advice and tips for parents, providing them with the knowledge of all latest software and security, as well as how to communicate with their children about their internet usage. We want to help UK parents feel confident to know how to help keep their child safe whilst using the latest mobile phones.”
The booklet will be available for free from 8th February at all 800 Carphone Warehouse stores nationwide or alternatively visit http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/mobilewebsafety now for more information.
Carphone Warehouse has been in partnership with charity Get Connected for over 10 years. The free and confidential helpline service is for young people who know they need help but don’t know where to find it. Visit http://www.getconnected.org.uk for more information.
- Ends -
For further information please contact Freud Communications:
T: 020 3003 6553
- 27% of children have received unwanted calls or messages on their phones
- 18% of children have had to tell adults about unwanted calls or messages to their mobile phone, peaking at 25% of 12 year olds
- 36% of children keep their mobile phone switched on at all times
- 32% of children keep their phones switched on at night-time
- 18% of children keep their phone on at school
- 47% of children always carry their mobile phones with them wherever they go
Notes to Editors:
• The Carphone Warehouse is the largest independent mobile phone retailer in the UK, with over 800 stores nationwide
• Discover how to get more from your gadgets with eye openers from The Carphone Warehouse. eye openers is a new YouTube channel which features videos of The Carphone Warehouse team members sharing useful hints and tips on everything from laptops to Sat Navs to the latest mobile phones. With new videos being added each month, users can search through hundreds of videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/eyeopeners.
About UK Safer Internet Centre – http://www.saferinternet.org.uk
• Safer Internet Day 2012 is celebrated worldwide and this year is an opportunity to encourage users young and old to “discover the digital world together safely”. An inspirational array of activity is taking place nationwide, coordinated by the UK Safer Internet Centre (http://www.saferinternet.org.uk), with all activities focusing attention on empowering all generations to safely benefit from the opportunities that the internet offers.
• For further information on national activities taking place for Safer Internet Day, please visit http://www.saferinternet.org.uk
• The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charitable organisations, Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Collectively, these organisations have operated for 38 years in online safety; all working to make the internet a better environment, mirroring the conclusions of Professor Tanya Byron in her report to UK Government, by reducing availability (of illegal content), restricting access (where appropriate) and increasing resilience (through education, awareness and empowerment). All partners recognise the unparalleled opportunities the internet offers and actively encourage its positive use for social, leisure, economic and educational advancement. The partners all work towards the Childnet target; to make the Internet a great and safe place for children.