Every time new statistics on cyberbullying and online harassment are released, one thing is made abundantly clear: parents really have no clue what their children are up to on the computer. Whether it's as simple as not letting nine-year-olds play 18-rated games after midnight, or as complex as trying to stop cyberbullying, it's clear that Britain's parents really suck at the whole computer thing.
Take these statistics as a pretty good case in point: 18 per cent of 9-11 year olds polled in a recent survey said they'd arranged an offline meeting with a stranger they'd met online, often without their parent's knowledge or consent; worse, 55 per cent said they accepted cyberbullying as part of everyday life.
The reason behind these stats, as ever, is abundantly clear: parents either have no idea how computers work, or just don't really care. It's a curious problem -- kids, growing up with the technology, will almost inevitably be better with computers than the older generation, meaning that regulation of the internet is going to be hard. That's something borne out by the stats -- two-fifths of parents surveyed said that they wouldn't know what to do if their child was being cyberbulled. (And, to be honest, the other three fifths are probably just lying to make themselves feel better about their parenting abilities.)
Of course, that's no excuse. There are enough patronising-but-useful pieces of nannying software out there to regulate all but the most tech-savvy script kiddies, and support groups by the dozen to help educate parents. Or, I hear not letting kids spend hours on end hiding in their room with a laptop works pretty well too. [BBC, Metro]
Image credit: Child with computer from Shutterstock