Parents find sex education conversations easier than tech talk, survey says

Embargoed to 0001 Tuesday September 03 File photo dated 21/08/14 of a child using a laptop computer. More than a third of par
Embargoed to 0001 Tuesday September 03 File photo dated 21/08/14 of a child using a laptop computer. More than a third of parents have admitted they are competing against gadgets when it comes to getting their children's attention, according to a survey.

More than half of parents would rather discuss sex education with their children than technology, a new survey suggests.

A study by BT indicates that 56% of parents admitted they find it difficult to talk about tech and social media because of a lack of knowledge on the subject.

According to the report, parents are more interested in traditional skills such as maths and English, with future careers in coding or web development only the third preferred choice for their children.

Some 52% of children aged six to 14 who took part in the survey said they believed they knew more than their parents about the internet and social media.

More than 50% of parents also admitted they ask their children for advice on new apps and technology.

The research has been published to mark the launch of BT’s Skills for Tomorrow scheme, a programme which offers information and resources about the internet and technology.

Experts urged parents to improve their own digital skills so that they could talk to their children about using such technology and help give them guidance on using it safely.

Carolyn Bunting, chief executive of online safety group Internet Matters, said: “Conversations about your child’s online world don’t have to be tricky or uncomfortable.

“Speaking to your child from a young age allows you to create an environment where children share their digital experiences, so it’s important parents have the confidence to support their children and navigate any issues they may face.

“With BT’s Skills for Tomorrow, parents now have a fantastic place where they can learn how to help their children safely master the digital world and encourage them to make the most of the opportunities the online world has to offer.”

The research indicates that a quarter of parents did not know what popular video sharing platform TikTok was, and 35% said they were not familiar with any of the apps and platforms their children frequently used.

Professor Kerensa Jennings, digital impact director at BT, said: “New technology is constantly changing family life, so we want to help parents feel more confident about helping their children to navigate the online world.

“From protecting children’s privacy to managing screen time, at BT we know how important it is for parents to have these important conversations with their kids from an early age.

“Our Skills for Tomorrow programme is here to help families build confidence and understanding, so that they can support their children to have a happy, healthy and safe time online.”

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