66% of parents don’t know how children use internet

The UCC survey in 96 districts found that majority of parents are not engaged in understanding what their children access while on the Internet. Photo / File 

What you need to know:

  • Only 34 percent of interviewed of parents or guardians are certainty of what their children access  on the Internet

At least 66 percent of parents don’t know what their children access or how they use the Internet, a report by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) indicates. 

The report, which highlights the behaviour of children on the Internet, opportunities and risks that it presents to them, indicates that only 34 percent of parents or guardians speak with certainty to know  what their children are accessing or how they are using the Internet.

At least 834 parents or guardians were interviewed in the Uganda Children’s Online Survey, which covered 96 districts. 

The survey, which was compiled between December 12, 2019 and January 31, 2022 also found that 41.8 percent of parents did not know if their children had access to the Internet, while 15 percent indicated that it is difficult to say, a response that was similar to that of 8.3 percent, who indicated that they suspected that their children had access to the Internet. 

Female parents, the report indicates, were more likely to know if their children had access to the Internet compared to their male counterparts. 

The report also indicates that children as young as 14 years were accessing adult content through social media, with some engaged in onward sharing. 

Under normal circumstances, parents have to monitor and or support children while online beyond offering skills. 

Ms Irene Kaggwa, the UCC acting executive director, yesterday said there was need for stakeholders to put in place programmes that not only sensitise children about online safety but also parents. 

“When children access or consume content not suited for their age, it robes their innocence and propagates erosion of society’s moral fiber,” she said. 

The survey also interviewed 2,766 children aged between six and 17 years, majority of whom indicated that they mostly used the Internet to among others, access social media sites, exchange images, browse, and install apps on devices.

Learning

Through the survey, UCC sought to understand the level of parents or guardians’ engagement in children’s Internet usage. 

At least 3.7 percent of parents, the survey indicates, indicated that they often encourage children to explore and learn things on the Internet while 35.7 percent had never encouraged their children to explore and learn things on the Internet. 

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