As a nation of parents who’d do anything for our kids, we’d assume that we’d do anything to protect our kids. However, recent research would assume otherwise.
According to a recent survey conducted by distinctivechesterfields.com, 9 in 10 parents believe that their kids are growing up too fast, and it’s mainly the way they speak and the things they see online that concerns them.
Many children wait to report or never report child sexual abuse. Therefore, published numbers likely underestimate the true impact of the problem. A new study found that adults who reported experiencing sexual abuse by the age of 16 had a 2.6 times higher risk of dying in middle age (between ages 45 and 58) than those who did not report sexual abuse.
Despite this concern, many parents admitted to not taking any form of action when shielding the things their children could see online.
Just 80% of parents surveyed said that they use parental filters and track what their kids are doing on social media. The other 20% didn’t and their children could be seeing all-sorts online without their knowledge!
“We often tell kids not to talk to strangers or share personal information, but a kid’s online relationships can feel just as real as their offline ones”, wrote Timothy A. Scott, internet sex crimes attorney in San Diego“. So before they start chatting with anyone online, kids need to get some basic digital citizenship and online privacy information from their parents.
Tom Madders, Director of Campaigns and Communications at children’s charity YoungMinds, said: “Social media is part of everyday life for most young people – from organising plans with friends to reading the news or scrolling through Twitter or Instagram.
“Parents can adjust the safety settings on their Internet browsers and devices, but it is impossible to monitor or control everything your child sees online.
“This is why it is so important for parents to talk to their children about what they may be seeing online and encourage them to open up if something is troubling them.”
Just over than a third (37%) of parents expressed that they didn’t actively monitor the music that their kids listen to. Considering that some songs that have crept into the top 10 recently aren’t always suitable for younger ears, it’s definitely a cause for concern.
It seems like we’re also leaning towards becoming more accepting of our kids growing up quickly. A previous discussion on Netmums found that some parents believe their kids’ childhood is completely over by the age of 12.
That probably means that it’ll come as no surprise when the research found that kids these days are learning about sex and relationships at an earlier age.
Primary school-aged kids are now taught about the birds and the bees; a much younger age than the average lesson for a 12-year old version of their parents.
Steve Laidlaw from Distinctivechesterfields.com said, “Obviously, children mature at different rates but parents are right to question whether television, films and social media have any influence over the speed at which it happens.
“Every parent faces decisions about letting their children have their ears pierced or staying up longer but compared to when they were young themselves, it’s quite incredible to see the extra decisions they’ll need to make based on technology, to ensure their children are safe using tablets and smart phones.”