UAE parents have high concerns over their child’s exposure to inappropriate online content

UAE parents have high concerns over their child’s exposure to inappropriate online content
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Although parents of 10+ year olds have high concerns over their children’s internet usage, they have less control in place over their online activities

More than three-quarters of parents in the UAE (78%) are worried about their child’s exposure to inappropriate online content, new YouGov research reveals. Furthermore, more than nine in ten (92%) agree with the statement ‘Inappropriate online content can affect a child’s mental health’.

YouGov’s new research looks into parents’ concerns over their children’s digital habits and reveals steps taken by them to monitor their activities. At present, more than nine in ten UAE parents (93%) said their children use the Internet. Not surprisingly, parents of older children, where the youngest was 10 or older, were much more likely to say their children use the internet “very often” (79%); this compares to only 39% amongst parents with children of 5 or under. Although consumption is higher among families with children 10+, their parents are less likely to check their online history very often (30%) as compared to parents of children 5 and under, of whom half (54%) said they check their child’s online history very often.

Exposure to inappropriate imagery is the main concern of parents in the UAE in connection to their child’s digital habits, with 71% stating this as a matter of concern. This is followed by interaction with strangers (65%), online bullying (62%) and exposure to dangerous games (61%). Most of these concerns are prominent for parents whose children are more than 5 years old, especially those with children over 10. We see a higher concern with online bullying among parents whose youngest children are aged between 6 and 10, with seven in ten (70%) of these parents saying this is concerning to them. On the other hand, interaction with strangers (75%), illegal downloading (60%) and risk to reputation on account of content posted by their child (43%) are more worrisome to parents of older children as compared to their younger counterparts.

In order to deal with these concerns, parents take certain steps to monitor their child’s online habits. More than half (53%) restrict their child’s internet access time and slightly lower than that (47%) try gaining an insight into their child’s online interests by speaking to them regularly. However, there are some parents (18%) who do not take any steps in this regard.

Digital censorship by UAE parents

YouGov research shows that even though parents of 10+ year olds have high concerns over their children’s internet consumption, they seem to have less control in place over what they are doing online. From the list of options to monitor children’s internet activities, these parents are less likely than parents of younger children to take almost all these steps in order to keep a check. This is especially true for measures such as ‘installing parental control software’ and ‘denying access to personal cell phones’, where the figures are 17% and 20%, respectively. On the contrary, even though internet usage is lowest among children who are 5 and under, their parents seem to have more control and are more likely to take actions in order to check their concerns.

Data collected online by YouGov Omnibus among 507 respondents in the UAE between 15th and 21st August 2019 using YouGov’s panel of over 6 million people worldwide. Data is representative of the adult online population in the country

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