Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

More kids use net for home studies

With nearly two-thirds of Belfast kids connecting to the internet to tackle their first set of homework, new research out today reveals online safety is the top worry for one in three parents when it comes to their children's school days.

According to a survey of over 500 parents by Virgin Media, their techno savvy children would rather log on to the world wide web for help with their homework than use more traditional means.

The survey has found that 72% use their computer compared to 57% using text books, 36% using an encyclopaedia, while 36% simply ask mum or dad for help.

Yet despite spending on average £936 a year kitting out their kids with the latest Back to School gadgets, nearly one in 10 rushed out to buy the latest laptop for the start of the term.

This shift in attitude is leaving parents uneasy. A third are concerned about who their child is speaking to online, while 13% don't know how to protect them from online dangers.

In fact, parents in Belfast confess to being completely in the dark when it comes to modern gadgets - 11% have not even heard of blogging and trendy social networking sites like Facebook and the same number dread having to answer their children's technological questions.

To help families understand and enjoy using the internet safely, Virgin Media is launching Internet Safety Made Simple - the third in its series of educational, straight-talking consumer guides.

Written with the help of the Internet Watch Foundation the free guide will provide simple tips and advice to help parents get to grips with the dangers their children could face online, in addition to outlining safe sites to help kids with their studying.

Virgin Media will be speaking to people in Belfast to find out their worries and understand exactly what they do not get when it comes to online security.

Virgin Media is also asking children in Belfast to get involved by designing the front cover of the guide for the chance to win a state of the art laptop and their artwork displayed on the front of the booklet. Nine runners up will win the latest digital camera.

Neil Berkett, acting CEO at Virgin Media, said: "There is no doubt our kids are streets ahead of us when it comes to using today's technology, and the internet is the modern day encyclopaedia for school work. So it's not surprising parents are worried about what risks their children face online."

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