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Madrid, February 1st, 2019 - On Safer Internet Day, Lingokids, the digital platform for learning English in early childhood, has released a report that highlights the habits and behaviors regarding mobile use in Spanish families with children ages 2 to 8. The study, meant to raise awareness about the importance of internet safety, concludes that most parents (66%) do not consider the internet to be a safe place for their child. It also finds that only 69% of parents monitor the content accessed by their children through phones or tablets.
Based on a sample size of 400 families, Lingokid’s report also reveals that 64% of Spanish children between the ages of 2 and 8 have their own internet-equipped devices - with most of them using tablets (38%), followed by smartphones (26%). 52% access the internet daily. With regards to time spent per session, 54% use devices for 30 to 60 minutes and 32% use them for more than one hour at a time. This means that 43% of children spend more than 6 hours per week on mobile devices and 32% spend between 4 and 6 hours per week.
As for the main types of content being accessed by the little ones, 29% of parents say their children go on the internet mainly to watch YouTube videos, followed by 23% who mainly watch movies. 21% engage primarily with educational apps and video games while 6% of parents say their children use the internet to access social media. When it comes to the use of social media specifically, 45% of parents maintain that their kids are not using it. As far as access to information regarding internet safety, 33% of parents believe their children do not have the necessary information to use the internet in a safe way while 22% are confident that they do.
Controlled use and choosing apps that are 100% safe
The report also examines the circumstances in which these devices are used. 56% of parents claim that they tend to accompany their children while they use devices connected to the internet, while 36% acknowledge that they simply select the content for the child and then leave them to it. The remaining 8% of parents say that they leave it up to their child to find the content and do not supervise them.
For Lingokids, it is vital that parents remain attentive with regards to the content that is being watched by their children and that they make sure that apps and games come with sufficient safety features. "Our app adheres to the highest standards of quality and the requirements of the U.S. Children's Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), which provides internet safety measures for minors under the age of 13. Children can navigate freely through the app while their parents have the peace of mind knowing that their child is safely enjoying content that is specifically adapted to their age" explains Cristóbal Viedma, CEO & founder of Lingokids.
On the other hand, when asked what the appropriate age is to let children use devices without supervision, 44% of parents thought that it should begin at age 14. Nevertheless, 19% say the age should be 12/14, 17% say 10/12, and 20% set the age lower than 10.
Parental control, an unsettled matter
There are a number of different free parental control tools that allow parents to restrict their children's use of mobile devices by either limiting the window of time, the type of pages and content available, or the type of applications that can be downloaded. Mobile phones, tablets, and computers themselves normally come with pre-installed systems of parental controls set by the manufacturer.
Making use of these tools in order to monitor the activity of children on the internet is one of the main recommendations offered by the Safe Internet for Kids (IS4K), the Internet Safety Center for minors in Spain. However, according to the Lingokids study, 31% of parents still do not use them. 14% plan to use parental control but still have not gotten around to implementing it, 13% say they do not think it's necessary because they trust their child, and 3% claim they do not know how to use them.
According to Qustodio, the leading platform for safety and digital wellbeing, which is used by 2 million families around the world, parents begin to feel the most concern for their child's safety when starting at the age of 7. Nevertheless, they recommend to always watch what your kids are doing on the internet so that you can guide them, prevent digital addiction, and help them find the right balance between screen time and other activities.