Parents want online safety added to school curriculum, study shows

Parents believe that digital wellness and online safety should be a part of the school curriculum as fears grow about young people being exposed to scams, research suggests.

A study from cybersecurity firm McAfee found that UK parents were worried about their children sharing personal information, accessing illegal content and encountering cyberbullying and misinformation.

As a result, nearly half of those surveyed (43%) said they thought digital wellness and protection should be taught in the classroom.

It also found that as a result of these concerns, more than a third of parents (36%) said they were taking steps to better protect their family by discussing safe online behaviour with their children and a further 19% said they had invested in online security protection.

The majority of students spent much of the last school year studying virtually and digital skills become increasingly important for future career paths.

Ahead of children returning to school for the new academic year, McAfee said it had chosen to publish advice for parents on how to better prepare children for going online.

It encourages parents to prepare any school-used devices by making sure the software on each of them is up to date, as well as refreshing account passwords.

It also suggests teaching children about fake news and misinformation, and how to spot them by questioning the content they see online to determine whether it is credible.

“Getting students back to school safely is an imperative for parents after the disruptions of the last school year,” Antony Demetriades, McAfee vice president of marketing said.

“We know that many parents have become more aware of the need for their children to be protected online, and are looking to schools to help them educate their children about safe online behaviour.

“However, it’s good to see that many are now doing the same at home, too. At McAfee, we know the importance of digital wellness and are here to help parents and teachers educate themselves and their children.”