“Your children are constantly sexting, 24/7, unless you stop them!” says web security firm

One in seven parents has found explicit content on their child’s mobile – but 33% NEVER bother to monitor what children look up on their phones

One in seven parents has found unsuitable content on their child’s mobile device, a study has revealed.

Researchers uncovered the shock findings after polling 2,000 parents of children aged 7-14 in a study about their child’s online safety.

Nearly half have been concerned with search terms found in their child’s Google history, with 15 per cent alarmed at the results that fairly innocent words have thrown up.

Source: Daily Mail, 17th June 2014

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The internet really is that Wild West of content, where anything goes. One minute you’re innocently googling entirely naive words, the next minute you’re being groomed by a pornography. It’s hard to be a parent, with such a big and scary world wide web of iniquity and shame of which to be relentlessly vigilent.

Terms like ‘sex’, ‘kissing, ‘girls’ and ‘naked pictures’ were all words and phrases that parents suspect their children have searched for.

See what I mean? Not only are there filthy words like ‘girls’ out there on the internet, brazenly sat on web pages just waiting for your son to find (because, by inference, presumably the issue isn’t so much that your daughter will be searching such shocking terms).

What’s even worse is that these aren’t even the words children are definitely searching – these are just the words parents are speculating their children might have looked for. As the Mail’s article clearly states, we literally don’t know how bad the words children actually searched for. And ‘kissing’ isn’t even the end of the list of things children might have searched for if the pure speculation of their parents proves true:

And a quarter expects they have looked for inappropriate jokes online and songs with explicit lyrics.

Inappropriate jokes! Can you imagine! Just think what might happen if your thirteen your old son read an inappropriate joke! It’s practically Soddom and Gomorrah: The Teenage Years.

One in ten suspect their son or daughter of seeking out movies with an age classification of 18, and 18 per cent said they just Google anything they don’t understand.

Is there anything more morally outrageous than this? Children as young as something or other are using the internet to find out information on things they don’t know or don’t understand! Oh how we all yearn for the time when a child’s ignorance was their parent’s privelege to maintain or dispell as they felt like.

With the average British child now getting a phone at the age of eight it’s not surprising that 36 per cent of parents think their child gets together with friends and searches for inappropriate terms or images.

It’s true that it’s unsurprising to see parents thinking of their children googling all sorts of nefarious and corrupting things – not least when there are articles such as this one, stoking up fears of what Junior may have seen, while carefully and very specifically only ever reporting on what parents speculated might be out there. Never actually on anything any child has actually seen, naturally – what’s the point of a scaremongering fear story if you include actual events and facts?

Equally unsurprising is the source of this particular moral panic press release:

Cam Le, CMO at internet and mobile security firm BullGuard who conducted the survey, said: ‘This research shows that many children are stumbling across inappropriate material on their smartphones or tablets perhaps unintentionally.

No, internet security expert, it doesn’t – the research shows that parents have been conditioned to imagine the worst when it comes to their child and the internet. And companies such as yours are to blame for that fear, which you’re currently now using to sell your firewalls and parental locks.

‘What may start out as searching for fairly innocent terms in Google could throw up some sinister results, which could confuse or traumatise young children.

‘You will never stop curious children and teenagers googling things like parts of the body, and inappropriate words in a bid to get answers to their questions, but it’s a parent’s job to ensure their child’s phone or tablet has strict parental controls.

Cam Le added: ‘Although the children may not agree, it’s vital for parents to keep an eye on what they are doing online.

‘Checking their history is a good way of seeing what they are up to, and modern mobile security software allows parents to set up keywords to flag alerts, view reports on activity and block certain sites automatically.

‘This extends to cover more general smartphone use that includes calls and messages, so the tools are out there to safeguard children and offer significant peace of mind to parents.’

While teaching children to be safe online is unquestionably a good idea, doing so from a position of fear and commercially-provoked paranoia can never be healthy.

If only there were something to block these stories from worried parents’ eyes. Perhaps we need some kind of BullGuardGuard.