Most parents are not using internet safety controls to protect their children from being exposed to inappropriate content online, a survey has found.
Internet Matters, which conducted the survey, said more than 60 per cent of parents had not put parental controls on their children’s toys with online access.
The survey also revealed that more than 40 per cent of parents do not supervise their children’s internet usage, and almost a third did not know how to set up internet filters on their children’s devices.
The news comes as Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new law which could see people who are caught seeking sexual images of children online imprisoned for two years.
He also revealed that the National Crime Agency alongside the Government’s intelligence gathering agency GCHQ, would be setting up a unit to combat the “dark web” – an encrypted online area where images can be exchanged in secret.
Meanwhile in Merseyside shocking new figures revealed that children as young as ten had been arrested for rape and sex offences.
Jo Wood, of the Merseyside Rape and Sexual Abuse centre, suggested that access to pornography and exposure to sexual situations from a young age could be to blame.
Carolyn Bunting of Internet Matters, which conducted the latest survey, told Premier Christian Radio: “Without parental controls in place, children can access content that’s inappropriate like pornography, like violence, like crime”.
“Parents are really confused” she continued, “their perception around parental controls is that they’re complex and time consuming and difficult to set up. What we wanted to do is tell parents that it’s not that difficult.”`
“Once they’ve understood parental controls and they’ve set them up, the overwhelming majority think they’re a really good idea.
“Technology moves at such a pace now that it’s hard for parents to keep up, and I think they feel that their children know more about the internet than they do, and therefore they’re not best placed to advise their children.”
Ann Coffey MP recently released a report showing that in parts of Greater Manchester, the sexual exploitation of children had become a ‘social norm’.
The report indicated that the problem might have been “fuelled” by an “explosion of explicit music videos and the normalisation of quasi-pornographic images”.