Previous research undertaken by eSafety into the digital lives of young people in Australia found that parents are an important source of support when things go wrong online (Office of the eSafety Commissioner, 2018), with 55% of young people who have experienced something negative online reporting that they had confided in their parents (Office of the eSafety Commissioner, 2018).
To better understand these exchanges, eSafety commissioned a national survey of parents in July 2018. The survey fulfils the need for up to date, robust national data and explores, among other things, the ways in which parents become aware of, and respond to, the online issues faced by their children. Stemming from that survey, this report attempts to answer the following questions:
What do parents see are the main perceived risks of their children using the internet?
How aware are parents of their children’s negative online experiences?
What attitudes to the internet do parents exhibit and agree most with?
How do parents react to their children’s negative online experience?
How proactive are parents in seeking information?
Where do parents go for online safety information?
What are parents’ online safety information needs?
That both parents’ concerns about their child being online and their additional information requirements revolve around the need to maintain privacy — as well as the need to protect them from unwanted approaches from strangers.
Parenting approaches and attitudes vary, based on the age of the child in their care. Parents with an older child are more likely to favour a more open parenting style while parents with a younger child are more restrictive.
Parents display a general lack of confidence about having to deal with their child’s negative online experiences.
Despite its perceived importance, parents are not proactive when it comes to seeking and receiving online safety information.