With many YouTube stars attracting more fame and popularity than their traditional TV and movie counterparts, over a third (40%) of UK parents are in favour a clearer guide from the government on the age appropriateness of their content. Modelled on BBFC guidelines for films, or PEGI guides for games, the ratings would provide parents with the reassurance and guidance currently lacking.

 

A poll of 1,000 parents by AVG Online Security, the provider of security and privacy products for families at this weekend’s Digital Kids Show in London, reveals just how little parents know about the YouTube influencers and popular games that their children watch and play.

 

  • 43% of parents cannot identify a single YouTube influencer by name
  • Over a quarter (27%) of parents let their children watch YouTube influencers without knowing what subjects are being discussed or the type of language is being used
  • 20% or parents said they felt concerned about their lack of knowledge of the content of YouTube channels (this rises to 27% for those with children aged between 10 to 15 years old)
  • 25% of parents don’t think enough is being done by the Government to educate parents on the potential risks children face watching YouTube content

 

Officially, YouTube forbids anyone under the age of 13 to create their own accounts, and children between ages 13 and 17 are only allowed to open accounts with parental permission. The poll, however, reveals that 18% of parents with kids aged between 5 and 9 let children watch popular influencers such as DanTDM and LDShadowLady unsupervised. This figure rises to 30% of those with children between 10 and 15.

 

Jas Dhaliwal, consumer security expert from AVG Online Security said, “The internet is where the majority of children today go for information, education, and of course, entertainment. The threats in the virtual world, however, can differ from the real world, making it harder for parents to monitor and mitigate.

 

“When it comes to influencer content, an age-rating system could help parents assess the suitability of the videos. Until that exists, it’s important that parents are involved with the content their kids are watching and take time to understand the potential safety issues their child could face online. Simply knowing more, seeking out the right advice and sharing this with their children is a great first step. Events like the Digital Kids Show really help bring this to as broad an audience as possible.”

 

Apps and communicating with strangers – the parent knowledge gap

 

The vast majority of parents (86%) did not express concern about their level of knowledge on the apps and games their kids use. However, less than one in five (17%) actually test the apps to assess suitability before they allow their children to use them.

 

Knowledge of what apps allow children to communicate with strangers is also worryingly low, with only 23% of parents thinking their kids could be communicating with strangers via TikTok, and 42% through Fortnite.

 

Digital Kids Show

The Digital Kids Show is a two-day event taking place in Battersea Park in London, 26th-27th May 2019. It aims to show children and parents how to enjoy our digital world by embracing new tech toys, games, apps and devices and understanding how to stay safe online.

 

At the event, AVG is running a series of workshops with John Woodley and John Staines also known as 'The 2 Johns' who are both qualified Police Trainers and have delivered internet safety training to over 100,000 kids in the last year alone.

 

For more details visit www.digitalkidsshow.co.uk.

 

Other Stats

 

Influencer awareness

  • 8% of parents can name 6 or more YouTube influencers
  • 43% of parents cannot name a single YouTube influencer
  • 37% of parents of 10 to 15 year olds cannot name one YouTube influencer
  • 21% of parents of 5 to 9 year olds can name three to five YouTube influencers

 

Influencer concerns

  • 24% of parents of 5 to 9 year olds let their children watch YouTube influencers; but don’t always know what subjects are being discussed or the type of language being use
  • 18% of parents of 5 to 9 year olds let their kids watch YouTube influencers without supervision
  • Only 24% of parents of 5 to 9 year olds watch and vet all YouTube content before to assess its suitability
  • Only 14% of parents of 10 to 15 year watch and vet all YouTube content before to assess its suitability
  • 20% of parents let kids watch YouTube influencers; but are concerned about their lack of knowledge about who they are; or what they discuss
  • 38% of parents think it would be useful if YouTube influencers came with an age-rating; just as films do

 

Apps

  • Only 13% of parents of 5 to 9 year olds download and use apps their children use before they let them use to assess its suitability
  • Only 27% of parents of 5 to 9 year olds think their children could be using TikTok to communicate with people they don’t know
  • Only 36% of parents think their children could be using Minecraft to communicate with people they don’t know