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Safer Internet Day survey reveals Scottish parents are failing to protect their children from the threats posed by new technology


Westcoastcloud survey also reveals parents worries about sexual content and online grooming

Worrying statistics have emerged about the lack of protection for children in Scotland when they surf the internet at home.


A survey carried out by Glasgow-headquartered web security company Westcoastcloud for UK Safer Internet Day (Feb 7) reveals that although half of parents in Scotland have installed software to protect their children from accessing unsuitable content when they use desktop PCs and laptops in the home, only 1 in 4 has installed similar protection on the mobile phones, games consoles and television services their kids also use in the house.

Yet 1 in 5 parents questioned said they had been concerned about something that had happened to their child while they were using the internet at home.

Bill Strain, Director of Westcoastcloud, says: “Whilst it’s encouraging that fifty per cent of parents in Scotland are being more vigilant about the risks their children face when going online on a computer or laptop, many of them are still failing to recognise that in our increasingly mobile world, the same level of protection needs to be provided when their children are accessing the internet via their mobile phones, the television and while they’re gaming.

It’s also interesting that parents are continuing to worry about the explicit and sexual content their children can access online. It’s so easy for kids to stumble across age-inappropriate material even if they’re just flicking through the TV channels, so parents do need think about protecting across every internet-connected device in the home.”

Westcoastcloud’s survey was commissioned to coincide with Safer Internet Day which is taking place across the UK today (7 Feb) under the slogan ‘Discovering the digital world together safely.’

David Wright from the UK Safer Internet Centre said: “While the internet is such an amazing resource, just like life it carries risk, not least for children with cyberbullying and adult content. Surveys like this demonstrate that online safety is a real issue for parents and that parenting in the 21st century is very different to that compared to the 20th century.”

The survey, carried out by leading market research company OnePoll for Westcoastcloud, questioned five hundred parents with children between 5 and 16 years of age across the six cities of Scotland about their attitudes towards keeping them safe online in the home.

While 49% said they had installed parental controls (filtering and blocking software) on computers and laptops their children used in the house, only 24% had done the same on mobile phones used at home. When asked whether they’d activated parental controls on games consoles like the Xbox or PlayStation, only 27% said they had, while only 24% had activated parental controls on their Sky TV or Freeview boxes. Almost 1 in 10 had not installed any internet protection software at all.

The parents questioned in the Westcoastcloud survey also revealed that they were worried about the sort of content their children come across on the internet. Almost 60% said they were worried about the explicit sexual content their children could come across; 50% said they were worried about online grooming by paedophiles; 47% said they were worried about online bullying and 45% were concerned about graphic violence online. Almost 1 in 4 (24%) said they were also concerned about the moderate nudity and sexual content in music videos and on showbiz websites.
When asked how they rated their knowledge of how to keep their children safe online 68% admitted they weren’t completely confident, with 25% confessing that their knowledge was poor or that they left the issue of internet safety to their children because they knew more about it.

Bill Strain, director of Westcoastcloud, explained: “There are many things parents can do to keep their children safe on the internet. The first and most important thing you can do is talk to your children to make them aware that the internet can expose them to all sorts of wonderful things but also all sorts of unsuitable things and get them to understand the risks. Secondly, you can agree certain rules with them and third, you can install web security software which will filter and block inappropriate content or websites.”

Westcoastcloud helps keep millions of families protected online with its internet safety software Netintelligence – the only web security software to have been given the BSI Kitemark for Child Online Safety. To coincide with Safer Internet Day the Netintelligence website has been transformed into an information portal with downloadable information sheets, videos and links to internet safety organisations, so that parents and carers can get up-to-date advice about how to keep their children safe online.

Background information:
This is the second survey that Westcoastcloud has commissioned on children’s use of technology in the past six months. In September 2011, its first survey revealed that a third of under 10s own a mobile phone. (
Westcoastcloud is a subsidiary of iomart Group plc, Scottish Digital IT Company of the Year 2011, which is ranked as one of the top web hosting companies in the world. Westcoastcloud director Bill Strain was recently voted IT leader of the Year by IT Pro.

For more information about Westcoastcloud visit


News release issued on behalf of Westcoastcloud by Jane Robertson, Head of PR for iomart Group plc. For more information please email or call 0141 931 6474 (dir), 0141 931 6400 or 07827948993 (mob).

About Westcoastcloud
Westcoastcloud delivers business-critical cloud solutions for service providers of all sizes - from small niche specialists to large multinationals. Its range of cloud service solutions suits any market and any provider from consumer to ISP. Westcoastcloud is part of AIM listed iomart Group plc, one of the UK’s leading providers of managed hosting and cloud computing services. From a single server through to complex private cloud networks, iomart specialises in the delivery and management of mission-critical hosting services, enabling customers to reduce the costs, complexity and risks associated with maintaining their own web and online applications.

For more information about Westcoastcloud visit

For more information about iomart Group plc visit 

About UK Safer Internet
The UK Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading charitable organisations, Childnet International, the South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). Collectively, these organisations have operated for 38 years in online safety; all working to make the internet a better environment, mirroring the conclusions of Professor Tanya Byron in her report to UK Government, by reducing availability (of illegal content), restricting access (where appropriate) and increasing resilience (through education, awareness and empowerment).  All partners recognise the unparalleled opportunities the internet offers and actively encourage its positive use for social, leisure, economic and educational advancement. The partners all work towards the Childnet target; to make the Internet a great and safe place for children.