New Poll: Parents Prioritise Wisdom as Key Virtue for Children Online

A recent poll, undertaken by Yonder for the Jubilee Centre, has found that the ability to make wise decisions is the quality that parents in the UK most want their children to show online, with 56% of parents choosing this as one of their two top qualities.

Surveying 1,515 UK parents of children aged 13-17 years, the poll found that almost 60% overall, and almost 80% of younger parents aged 18-34 years, worry that their children may be exposed to more online risks as a result of spending more time online during the pandemic, with mothers worrying about this more than fathers (62% versus 55%).

Parents are most concerned that their children are at risk of being exposed to violent, hateful or racist content or activities that show a lack of compassion and respect for others, with more than half (51%) choosing this, out of many online risks, as one of their top three concerns. Meanwhile, 41% of parents reported that one of their top three concerns is that their children may become socially isolated or addicted to the internet because of limited self-control of their technology use.

Promisingly, the poll revealed that parents prioritise cultivating character and virtues (44%) over trying to teach children about the consequences of their online actions (27%) or making rules (19%) when managing their children’s internet use. However, 77% of parents think that schools should make more efforts to teach about good character, wisdom and virtues in relation to the internet.

Finally, while most parents (95%) think that they have the most responsibility when it comes to ensuring that children use the internet safely, almost 80% think that the government should make more efforts to tackle online risks. Eight of out ten parents, furthermore, think that search engines and online platforms should be redesigned to promote internet safety, with only 22% of parents trusting internet and social media companies to self-regulate the digital environment.

A report with key findings is available here.

A press release on the poll can be found here.

A blog post by Dr Gianfranco Polizzi discussing the findings can be viewed here.

Further information on the Cyber-Phronesis project, focussing on how to promote wisdom online among 13-16 years old, can be accessed here.

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