As part of our mission, we undertake research into the issues affecting children, young people and families in the digital age.
Online safety tools - a false hope? April 2023
The Online Safety Bill means safety tools will become ever more central to using the internet, for parents, children, and adults more generally. While the tools undoubtedly have a part to play, Parent Zone has a number of reservations.
Download the report below to read it in full.
Your Digital Family – Listening Project, January 2023
Parents aren’t just care-givers, they’re also the earliest educators, providers of all kinds of support, and, at the end of the day, advocates. They also know their children better than anyone. Bearing this in mind, Parent Zone found so little mention of parents in the Online Safety Bill to be a huge oversight.
Created in partnership with Meta, the Your Digital Family Listening Project is a new way of understanding how families really feel about tech policy and regulation – using a hyper-local model and accessible multi-format surveys.
It was designed to give a voice to parents, and to help us get a better grasp on where they stand when it comes to some of the crucial issues of online life – including age-gating and verification, anonymity, and misinformation – which the Online Safety Bill promises to tackle.
After collating answers and data from surveys available through 52 UK organisations in late 2022, we’re in a better position to understand parents, and to bring their opinions, intuitions, and concerns to the table when it comes to policy and regulation.
This will be crucial if we’re to keep their support, and produce the best results for families.
For Their Future, March 2022
When the pandemic hit in 2020, the world changed. But we still had a job to do: to help children be secure, resilient and face a digital future with confidence. With families more reliant on tech than before, that work was even more important.
Our Impact Report highlights the difference our work and collaborations have made to families over the past 24 months, including:
- reaching over 2 million children and parents to talk about online safety and digital wellbeing.
- training over 1,500 professionals and teachers around online safety and digital resilience.
- helping hundreds of families feel more confident in talking to each other around tech.
Digital Poverty, June 2021
One of the many consequences of lockdown in 2020 was the amplifying of the issue of digital poverty.
In Left Behind In Lockdown (November 2020, see below), 77% of parents told us that technology helped their family get through restrictions. However, 85% of families in the top earnings bracket saw this benefit – compared to 71% for those in the lowest.
There were been many attempts to assess the scale of the issue over 2020. There remains, however, no agreed definition of ‘digital poverty’. We wanted to contribute to the discussions and bring parents into the conversation – so, in 2021, we commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct research on our behalf.
Left Behind In Lockdown, November 2020
In October 2020, Parent Zone carried out research with Ipsos MORI to understand how families have been coping during Covid-19. We surveyed more than 1,000 UK parents of children aged 17 and under, to find out how lockdown restrictions had impacted.
The research found that not only has the mental health of many children been negatively affected, but a clear link exists between a family’s wellbeing and its financial situation.
The Rip-Off Games, August 2019
The business model has changed since the early days of gaming. Children are now being enticed not only to keep on playing but also to keep on paying, using psychological techniques borrowed from the gambling industry.
93% of 10-16-year-olds play online games regularly. 76% of them say games try to get them to spend money all the time, and almost half (49%) that online games are only fun when they do spend money.
We carried out quantitative research with Ipsos MORI and qualitative research online with gamers and groups of young people to compile the report.
Skin Gambling, June 2018
Following an investigation into the growth of skin gambling among young people, we found that 1 in 10 UK children aged 13-18 is betting online in casino and bookmaker-style sites.
Since 2015, gamers have been able to win or trade virtual items called 'skins' and gamble their collections on competitive video gaming matches, in casino-style sites or on games of chance. Winners can cash in skins for real currency.
Billions of pounds are spent in skin gambling sites internationally. But unlike most regulated gambling and betting sites, skin gambling sites do not enforce rigorous age verification processes.
We set out to explore the scale of under-18s skin gambling, how it is done, and what needs to happen to prevent children from being introduced to gambling via gaming platforms.
Parenting in the Digital Age, October 2017
To coincide with the Digital Families 2017 conference, Parent Zone asked children and young people for their views on how parents are helping them meet the challenges of the digital age.
With such conflicting messages being directed towards them, what were parents supposed to do?
And what support can we, as professionals tasked with helping families thrive in the digital age, offer them?
We decided to ask the people at the sharp end of digital parenting – the children themselves.
Ordinary Magic for the Digital Age, October 2017
Back in 2014, Parent Zone started the debate about digital resilience. Working with Virgin Media and the Oxford Internet Institute, we commissioned the first study into the subject, A Shared Responsibility: Building Children’s Online Resilience.
Three years later, we commissioned Rachel Rosen to revisit this important area to see how things have moved on. Our report, Ordinary Magic for the Digital Age: Understanding Digital Resilience (see below) is the result.
Instinctively, adults who care about children want to protect them from risk and prevent them having bad experiences online.
Filters and parental controls offer a partial solution, and few would argue against keeping disturbing content away from young children as they start to explore the online world. But technological and social realities mean filtering can only serve as one, limited part of a strategy to safeguard children. There’s no guarantee that their experiences with the internet at a friend’s or in the playground will be equally protected. So what is the solution?
The Perfect Generation, 2016
Family life is arguably more complex now than it has ever been. Children have access to information, views and opinions that adults cannot control. The internet destroyed any notions we might have had about keeping some things away from children until they were ‘old enough to cope’.
In this fast-changing space, concerns emerge and worries increase. The impact of the internet on young people’s mental health is one such concern.
Indicators suggest the prevalence and severity of mental health problems are increasing.
Some people link this to the internet - but we wanted to find out more: to speak to the young people who have grown up with technology and hear their views so that we can start to think about how best to support the people who care for them and educate them.
Building children's online resilience, 2014
In 2014, Parent Zone was asked by Virgin Media to work with Dr Andrew Przybylski and the Oxford Internet Institute to examine the important area of building children's online resilience.
A Shared Responsibility: Building Children's Online Resilience explored how children and young people can be encouraged to become resilient internet users, giving them the tools to be able to act positively when meeting the challenges of the online world.
The study found that good, supportive parenting played a key role in helping children learn how to cope in the digital age. The development of digital skills and the ability to allow children to take risks and develop strategies in the online world, just as they would in the offline world, were seen as key in building resilience in the young.