In a typical day, outside of school hours children spend an average of 1.4 hours online and 1.6 hours watching television. Not only does this mean that they are spending 3 hours a day staring at a screen, but it suggests that surfing the internet is set to take over from watching TV as the most popular children's recreational activity.
But where does this leave old fashioned playtime, and are we creating a new generation of internet addicts? Children today have a plethora of digital distractions whether they are in the form of games consoles such as the Wii, or social networking sites such as Bebo, with traditional playtime all but lost. Worryingly, 29% of children now have a computer in their bedroom and almost two thirds (63%) of these use it before going to sleep. Similarly, nearly half (49%) have a TV in their room and 64% regularly watch this in bed.
Despite nearly a third (30%) of parents worrying about information or images that they have found their child looking at on a website or on TV, just 41% of parents always supervise their children using the internet and 11% never do. Over half of parents (55%) leave it up to their children to decide which websites to visit, based on either guidelines they have set or common sense.
Taking the issue of parental control extremely seriously, all major broadband companies (http://www.uswitch.com/
Jason Glynn, communications expert at uSwitch.com, says: "In an age where engaging content such as on-demand TV (http://www.uswitch.com/
"We fully support the measures being laid out by companies to help families tackle this issue, such as TalkTalk's plans to classify websites with U, PG, 14 and 18 certificates. Our research shows that 8 out of 10 parents would back such a system."
Protect your family with broadband filters:
• AOL enables customers to set up parental controls for free. Controls can offer a different level of security for each member of the family, allowing children more freedom to roam the internet as they grow older.
• BT has teamed up with McAfee® to offer all BT Total Broadband Option 2, 3, or Broadband Anywhere customers BT NetProtect Plus at no extra cost.
• Orange has teamed up with McAfee to offer McAfee Privacy Service with parental controls, free to all Orange Broadband customers.
• O2 offers security software from McAfee at no extra cost, which along with parental control settings includes anti virus protection and spam filters.
• Sky Parental Alert, costing £3.50 a month or £35 a year, monitors children's Instant Messaging (IM) or chat room conversations for grooming patterns and alerts you via email or text message when those patterns are detected.
• Talk Talk offers Magic Desktop, available for free in an exclusive offer for TalkTalk customers. The service allows parents to introduce young children to a computer in a child-friendly environment and encourages families to use the internet safely.
• Tiscali's Crisp technology costs £3.50 per month. It scans instant messages for grooming behaviour and complements existing parental controls and filters for internet chat and social networking sites. Parents are alerted to problem conversations.
• Virgin Media broadband packages come with free PCguard Total internet security, including firewall, pop-up blocker and parental control, updated regularly.
See the full version of this press release: http://www.uswitch.com/
For more information please contact:
Jo Ganly 0207 802 2915 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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