Polish parents know little about their children's internet use

How much time does your child spend online? This – among dozens of others – was the question that researchers from NASK, a public Polish research institute based in Warsaw, asked thousands of parents and school children. Below, Filip Konopczyński shares the study's main highlights.

2019-12-18 Polish Safer Internet Centre awareness, research

As it comes out, Polish adults and teenagers have often somewhat different views of the ongoing digital revolution and its impact. "Parents of Teenagers 3.0" ("Rodzice nastolatków 3.0" is a second report published as a result of the "Nastolatki 3.0" (Teenagers 3.0") social research project. The study was conducted on a representative sample using the PAPI (Paper and Pen Personal Interview) method in October 2018.

The main conclusions of the report are the following:

  • Polish parents incorrectly estimate the total time as well as the time periods during which their children use the internet. According to them, a teenager spends on average 2.5 hours a day online, while students' responses indicate that an average Polish teenager spends over 4 hours a day using the internet. The vast majority (91.8 per cent) is convinced that their children use the internet mainly in the afternoon and evening hours (from 4:00 to 10:00 PM), while only 1.8 per cent of parents declared their child uses the internet after 10:00 PM. Simultaneous research conducted among students shows that 7.7 per cent of teenagers claim to use the internet after 10:00 PM (sometimes until early morning). Parents also engage twice less often than their children in online interactions or relationships with users from other countries (parents – 13 per cent; teenagers – 27 per cent).
  • Polish Parents do not efficiently control the online content their children consume. Only 1 in 5 (21.2 per cent) parents claim their household has a functioning technology that restricts access to dangerous web content. Responses show that the most popular method of parental control is not a technological solution, but preventive face to face conversation.
  • Parents of teenagers are also concerned about the negative effects of their children's internet use. More than 60 per cent of them admit that their child or children should spend less time on the web. In particular, parents claim that due to an extended internet use, teenagers often neglect their home (44.6 per cent) and school (34 per cent) duties, act and feel nervous when they cannot use their phones (29.5 per cent), hide real total time spent online (21.9 per cent) and even prefer spending time online to real-life meetings with friends or family (21.9 per cent). On the other hand, 35 per cent of them would like for their children to work in the ICT sector in the future. Only 30 per cent (5 less percentage points) of students answered so in an analogous question in regard to their own career plans.
  • The vast majority of parents (93.3 per cent) claim that they have not personally experienced internet violence, while expecting security and online privacy from website owners and administrators, police and prosecutors, and the Polish government. 84 per cent of parents claim that their children have not experienced verbal abuse online. When compared to students' responses, this number is most certainly underestimated: only 51 per cent of teenagers claim that they had never personally experienced internet aggression. What is more, 1 in 4 students claims they have been subjected to online verbal abuse (26.8 per cent) and mockery (19.5 per cent).

Front cover of the NASK report "Parents of Teenagers 3.0"

The "Parents of Teenagers 3.0" study was conducted by Thinkstat, the Social and Market Research Department at NASK over the September to November 2018 period. It is the third and latest edition of this biannual study, which was initially launched by NASK in 2014. In 2018, for the first time, the survey was conducted not only on groups of students, but also on parents of teenagers. The study is based on an analysis individual questionnaires filled by 1,173 students (aged 13-17) and 505 parents from 55 schools all over Poland.

For more information, read the full report (in Polish) at nask.pl.

Find out more information about the work of the Polish Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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