Study: 10% of UK kids under age 10 have an Apple iPhone; 50% of UK parents do not use parental controls

“A survey commissioned by a security app developer that polled parents in the U.K. has revealed surprising attitudes about children and access to technology and the internet,” MacNN reports.

“The study focused on primary-school children (ages 5-10) and found that one in 10 kids under the age of 10 years old already owns their own iPhone,” MacNN reports. “One in 20 have their own iPad, and one in 10 children in the survey had a social networking account — despite the age limit of MySpace and Facebook being 13.”

MacNN reports, “That children are much technologically aware at younger ages than ever before is hardly surprising — but what shocked the security firm that commissioned the survey was the lax attitude of the parents in supervising their children’s use of the internet. While 68 percent of the parents said that they bought the devices for their kids in order to keep tabs on them, 50 percent of the parents said they had no form of parental controls installed on their internet-connected devices and 12 percent said they regularly leave their children to ‘play’ on the net unsupervised.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

24 Comments

  1. Quality parenting you’ve got there in the UK. You ought to be very proud. You also ought not be surprised when your children use their unmonitored gadgets to organize flash riots to burn down your town because they fear that their government handouts have finally dried up. Godless statists, reap what you’ve sown!

    1. You are ill informed, Sir! Take that back at once! [drops monacle]

      If you’d watched the news, you would have seen that it was in fact the uneducated underclass of BLACKBERRY users who did all the rioting, and not the sophisticated 10% of our youth who use iPhones.

      1. Perhaps they wouldn’t have to burn the town down if their society wasn’t a godless caste system full of robber barons, mean nothing titles, with a bullshite inbred leach monarch figurehead family. To say nothing of the police state it has become.

        Perhaps the “underclass” is tired of educated blowhards using their ill-gotten gains to repress them and maintain the status quo.

        Education is suppose to open your mind, not close it and reinforce your narrow arrogant views.

        1. You’ve used the word “godless” in both posts, which is redundant, since there is no god, and therefore all societies are by definition godless.

          Not to mention the fact that the rest of your rant also describes pretty much every society on the planet.

          Still, if you want to hate Britain, that’s fine. I agree it is a broken place.

    2. I’d rather the entire country burns down than we let the Bronze Age bullshit have any say again. Best thing we ever did was start to ignore the Bible bashers and their fantasies. Better to leave that to the less enlightened countries of the world.

  2. A generation whose parents grew up on ‘Big Brother’, ‘Survivor’ and similar reality programming… There should be little surprise that their kids get little to no supervision at all.

  3. My three year old has an iPhone and iPad (my old ones) for a year. He’s intelligent and these tools just reinforce and build on his learning and play. (He has been able to count to a hundred and has known his whole alphabet since before he turned 2.) His use is restricted, parental controls are on and some days he doesn’t touch them at all as we’re kicking a ball around in the park or reading a book. Amazing tools that used sensibly can really enhance his education and be fun.

    Over-generalising, but Apple users tend to be more educated and therefore will make sure that iPhones and iPads are just part of the general mix of their kid’s lives especially with the wide variety of suitable apps available. I’d worry if they all had XBoxes and c’mon, kids have had TV’s in their rooms for years and that is a far more serious problem.

  4. I live in the UK and have a son of 10 and a daughter of 14. Like my wife and me, they each have an iPod touch (and an older Mac), with no parental controls. We’re a Mac/iOS family!

    My kids are reasonable, reasonably intelligent people. Why should I police their online activities? What is it I’m supposed to be protecting them from?

    In the physical world, they know not to dally with strange adults, and they’ve learnt to be similarly wary in the digital world.

    They’re not interested in porn, so they don’t seek it out and don’t encounter it, except accidentally (And when/if my son does become interested in his teens, that would be quite natural and no big deal, the equivalent of dirty magazines in my day.)

    It’s the same with movies. My kids are self censoring in their viewing habits. They’re not stupid. They don’t want to watch film that will give them nightmares!

    I’m a teacher, and in my school we used to have a web filter like the company that organised this survey sells, and it was a pain in the neck for everyone, and happily the school IT department got rid of it. As I recall, the top tech educationalists I was reading all said it was better to educate students about sensible web use than to try to police them. For a start, they argued that people will always find a way around content fences like web filters, and waste a lot of energy in “arms races” with clever student hackers and secondly, in the long term, the lack of trust will be counter productive. That’s the tack I’ve taken with my kids and so far it’s worked fine.

    1. Geoff, I appreciate your opinion, but would like you to consider the potential consequences of being wrong.

      If you are wrong, your children could be exposed to brain altering images and ideas. It could allow your children to develop outlandish addictions and behaviors. It could encourage them to grow up without any moral standards. In many ways, you are what you think, ponder, and view. And the effect is greater on children than it is on adults. The mind does not forget and if your child is exposed to something degrading, abusive, foul. It will be a part of them, you can’t take it back.

      If I am right and you police your children’s internet use, what harm will that cause them? None, unless you are a control freak, and that doesn’t appear to be the case.

      In the balance the policing method is less risky to your children’s well being. I agree that you need to teach your children what is good and what is bad for them, and as they mature allow them to make more of the decisions about what to allow themselves to experience, however every child development study I know of doesn’t say it is good to not have limits that you enforce. Please consider policing your children’s internet use for their good.

      1. One idea to consider for iOS is Mobicip. It is a browser that helps you filter out all the crap on the internet that works on any iOS device. Another idea is OpenDNS which can allow you to filter your internet connection and all devices connected to your internet.

        Note: I do not work for or am I affiliated with Mobicip or OpenDNS. I am just an advocate for tools that help parents parent.

      2. @SixnaHalfFeet
        Thanks for your reply and your recommendation for a suitable app. You make good points in a reasonable way.

        It’s true that my daughter occasionally is persuaded by friends to watch a horror movie that gives her nightmares for a couple of days, but such traumas pass. The more lasting benefit I think is that she is learning to manage the pressures on her.

        Despite your arguments, I just don’t believe that normal children are corrupted by brief exposures to unsavoury or shocking material on the Internet, which are just a tiny drop of aberrant data in the huge avalanche of material they are exposed to. Instead, it is the influence of their friends and close family members that have a lasting impact.

        Of course if a child started to make a habit of seeking out disturbing media, that would be a cause for worry.

        My main worry with my son at the moment is that, now that Friends has stopped being shown during evening TV viewing hours, he has moved on to Top Gear (a popular car review series) as his programme of choice, and I’m hoping he doesn’t adopt the presenters’ cavalier attitude to the environment.

    2. Oh and for the “arms race” argument. The vast majority of children will not be trying to circumvent the web filters. It is only a minority of the school population who attempts to do so. Just like locks on your front door don’t stop the determined thieves, but the locks do stop normally honest people. Your school eliminating the web filter, just exposed the majority of “good” kids who were never at risk of being exposed before.

      Your school has taken the lowest common denominator approach and lowered all the kids to the level of the small minority who would move mountains to buck the system. Of course there will be some who get into the arms race. But that doesn’t mean we don’t make rules or limits. Do we legalize murder, because there are some who will do anything to kill another? Of course not it would be crazy.

      I think schools should uplift and encourage children to be their best and not the lowest common denominator. Some children will always seek the lowest basest parts of life (often due to what they are exposed to from their parents and homes), but by being encouraging and having standards (laws, rules, etc) you will get a majority who seek the best highest parts of life.

      It is interesting to me how one of the hallmarks of 19th and 20th century English thought was to seek the higher plane and higher conduct. Today is seems the English values have flip-flopped and there are many seeking the lowest planes. Perhaps there wasn’t the correct amount of balance before, and that imbalance is skewing the balance beam the opposite direction today.

      1. @SixnaHalfFeet
        Thanks for this reply. I agree with much of what you say.

        On the subject of web filters, I checked with my kids and their schools, one a primary school the other a secondary school, both use web filters. However, it seems the filters are somewhat porous as they seem to know how to get round them to do what they want (mainly to watch YouTube content, which is supposed to be blocked).

        My son said a girl in his class tried a naughty key word (porn) and got pictures of women, which he was not impressed by.

        I should have pointed out that the school where i work isn’t for children but for 17+ students. We have a set of behavioural guidelines that the students have to agree to abide by.

        With children, I agree that there need to be rules and these need to be clear, but again, if these rules are reasonable in the eyes of the children, and clearly in their best interests, they should not need to be policed rigorously, as the children would have little reason NOT to abide by them.

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