Eight in ten children know the passwords or pin codes to their parents’ laptops, phones, tablets or PC’s a study revealed today.
One in ten kids said their parents constantly change their passwords so they can’t get access but 18 per cent admit they regularly sneakily look over their parents shoulder to find it out.
A persistent 12 per cent of kids said they try various combinations of numbers until they cracked the password to gain access to their parent’s online accounts.
More than one in ten of the 2000 children aged five to18 polled have been in the doghouse with their mum or dad after attempting so many password combinations it has locked all users.
The study found as a result one in four kids have wracked-up internet bills on their parents credit card or online accounts the poll by Virtual Piggy, a child friendly payment service found.
Researchers found one quarter of children aged five to18 have spent on average #33.23 on either iTunes, PayPal or their parents debit and credit cards.
Of those, six per cent said they incurred online costs unintentionally, and one in five said their parents never even found out.
But the results are hardly surprising when the polled found that the typical child in the UK is just six years old when they started using their parents laptop, PC or tablet.
Claire Perry MP for the Devizes Constituency and campaigner for online child safety said: ”This survey certainly raises worries about how little parents may be aware of their child’s activity online.
”Keeping our personal information safe is a key lesson for children and adults alike.
”The recent explosion of technology means it can be very difficult to manage as a parent but we all have a responsibility to ensure children are safe and responsible online and parents need to play a big part in that.”
Kids revealed that YouTube was the most popular site to visit, followed by gaming sites and social networking websites.
Of those polled 46 per cent said they own their own computer and that they were just 8 when they got it.
But of those that don’t have their own – four in ten favour mums laptop compared to just 24 per cent who would prefer to jump on dad’s computer.
More than a third of children polled said they know their parents let them play on the computer for a quiet life as it keeps them out of trouble.
And 30 per cent said they often tell Mum and Dad they are getting on with homework when they are in fact surfing the net.
Not surprisingly then, 27 per cent of kids said they frequently argue with their parents about their access to the internet and certain sites.
With a whopping 58 per cent claiming their parents nag them about the amount of time they spend staring at a screen.
Which for the average child is six hours and 21 minutes per week.
A spokesman for Virtual Piggy added: ”British children are extremely technologically savvy.
”It won’t take a typical six or seven year old long to work out a password to a tablet, phone or PC, so parents need to be vigilant.
”If an adult has accounts set up on certain shopping sites kids can easily log-on and purchase items with literally one click, so if parents want to ensure they are not footing the bill for their kids purchases they need to take precautions.
”On the one hand it’s great that youngsters are so at one with the latest gadgets but they do need to be used responsibly and parents must play a part in that.
”Technology is such a big part of modern family life that it is bound to cause rows every now and then.
”Our advice would be to keep a close on what your child is doing online and what sites they are visiting, changing your password regularly is also a good idea.
”With regard to incurring costs online, our new child friendly payment system allows kids to have their own account where they can spend any pocket money or birthday money safely and helps them budget their own pot of cash.’
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