- Research finds half of parents feel children are safer with a connected device and two thirds consider it essential for their children’s education
- Nonetheless, over three quarters (77%) of parents worry about the content their child could access and nearly half worry about the right age to gift a device
- To help guide confused parents, EE and Internet Matters have created the ‘Nice Device List’, a festive quiz for guidance on parental controls and online safety information including EE’s Set Up Safe service
EE, the UK’s largest mobile operator, has launched its ‘Nice Device’ quiz to help keep kids safe online, as new research shows almost a third (30%) of parents plan to gift their child a mobile phone or connected device this Christmas. However, over three quarters of parents worry about what content their children will access online, with a third considering parental controls but not knowing where to start.
EE’s poll of parents1 with children aged 6 to 15 found that establishing the right age to give a child their first mobile device is a real challenge, with concerns around access to inappropriate content and social media at the forefront. Just over one in ten would gift to their child as young as six years old, although the majority (25%) said that 10 years old was the most suitable.
Six in ten parents said they were ‘relaxed’ about introducing technology at an early age. In fact, almost two thirds (65%) consider it ‘necessary’ for their child to have a phone, laptop or tablet for their education. More than half (63%) felt much safer if their child owned a mobile phone so they can always keep in touch with them.
The Nice Device quiz tests parents’ knowledge on the basics of online safety and points to sources of advice like EE’s Set Up Safe service for mobile handsets. The free service created with online safety experts Internet Matters recommends and installs safety settings such as adult content lock, spending caps and blocking calls and texts to premium numbers, so parents can feel confident their child is safely using their phone outside of the home. Parents are also encouraged to have regular conversations with their children about any potential risks they may face online.
Mat Sears, Consumer Corporate Affairs Director at EE said: “We know this Christmas many parents will be thinking about giving their child a new mobile phone or connected device. Technology has become an increasingly indispensable part of children’s lives, whether it’s for staying in touch or keeping up with school work. This is why we want to help parents understand how they can keep their child safe online.
“Alongside Internet Matters we’ve designed the ‘Nice Device List’ quiz as an informative and fun way for parents to learn some of the dos and don’ts around online safety, and stay safe online.”
Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, said: “For parents about to give their children new connected devices, perhaps even their first mobile phone, it can be an anxious time. Naturally, there are risks but with the right information, guidance and digital tools parents will be better prepared to protect their children online.
“We would strongly encourage any parents giving their child a connected device this Christmas to apply age-appropriate safety settings. It’s also important to set clear boundaries from the start to balance their screen time and ensure they are making the most out of their time online.
“Crucially, parents need to be having regular open and honest conversations with their children about the online world and how to stay digitally safe. Only by having these frequent chats can we help children navigate their online world safely.”
EE’s Set Up Safe service is for all pay monthly customers and provides parents with guidelines for their children’s online activity. This is part of EE’s wider strategy to help parents keep their children safe online on its network.
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Notes to Editors:
1Research conducted by EE between 30th November – 1st December 2020 of 1000 parents with children aged six to 15.
More information can be found on the Set Up Safe website
- The safety setting packages cover the following controls:
- International roaming (outside the EU)
- Content lock
- Spending cap
- International call blocking
- Additional data purchases
- Charges to bill (paying for additional services through a phone bill)
- Blocking calls and texts to premium number
- Set Up Safe is for Pay Monthly customers and the settings work most effectively when connected to the EE network. The content lock does not work over WiFi, so parents should ensure additional safety settings are enabled on their home broadband
- Only the account holder can change or remove the safety settings, which can be done by speaking to our customer services team
- Parents can still install individual safety settings if they’d prefer not to sign up to suggested packages
- EE already works to educate customers who look after children on how to be tech savvy and keep them safe online through its Digital Skills for Tomorrow programme. The dedicated website helps parents teach their children digital skills including staying safe online.
- Parental controls are useful tools to help minimise the risks children may face, but they do not guarantee safety online. It’s important to teach children skills like critical thinking and resilience, so they know what do if they encounter risk. For more information and conversation guides, please visit our partner Internet Matters
EE runs the UK’s biggest and fastest mobile network, offering superfast connections in more places than any other operator. EE brought the first 4G network to the UK in October 2012, and launched the UK’s first 5G network in May 2019.
EE has received extensive independent recognition, including being named the UK’s no.1 5G network by RootMetrics® in 2020 and being named the UK’s best network every year since 2014 for the following awards: The Mobile Choice Awards, The Mobile Industry Awards and by RootMetrics®.
As well as offering mobile services to consumers and small and medium businesses, EE also provides home and business broadband using both 4G and fixed line connections.
EE is committed to being number one for service in the industry, and has nearly 600 shops across the UK. EE remains the only mobile provider to answer 100% of customer calls in the UK and Ireland and was recognised as the UK’s Best Large Contact Centre by the UK Customer Experience Awards 2018 and Welsh Contact Centre Awards 2019. EE was awarded The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work for in 2018 and 2019, as well as being named Best Employer 2018 by the European Contact Centre & Customer Service awards.
EE is part of BT’s Consumer business unit which provides products and services to all of BT’s consumer customers in the UK.
About Internet Matters:
Internet Matters (internetmatters.org) is a not-for-profit, industry-funded members body that helps families stay safe online, providing resources for parents, carers and educational professionals. It was established in 2014 by BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media and its members include BBC, Google, Samsung, Facebook, Huawei, ByteDance, Supercell and ESET. It is a member of the Executive Board of UKCIS (UK Council for Internet Safety) and was a member of The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying, founded by the Duke of Cambridge. It works with partners from across the industry, government and third sector to raise awareness and provide advice on the issues affecting children in the digital age, including cyberbullying, screen time, digital resilience, extreme content, privacy and exploitation.
Source: EE Newsroom