Over half of UK parents have condemned video sharing platforms, like Snapchat and YouTube, for failing to protect children from viewing unsuitable content online, according to new research.
A survey of 1,500 UK parents, conducted by AgeChecked, found that 58 per cent of parents believe that video sharing sites and apps aren’t doing enough to keep young people safe.
The research, which was carried out as part of AgeChecked’s latest report on what parents fear the most about their children’s online activity, revealed that the majority of parents (71%) fear their children are easily able to watch extremely violent, distressing or adult-only content on video sharing sites.
While parents are most worried about their children viewing disturbing content online, concerns are also being raised about advertisers using video platforms visited predominantly by young people to promote adult-only services.
The findings come after alcohol brand, Diageo, had to stop its advertising spend with Snapchat earlier this year, following criticism from the Advertising Standards Authority that it promoted content that could appeal to underage children.
Alastair Graham, CEO of AgeChecked, said: “Parents are all too aware that their children are absorbing much of their content through video sharing sites, like Snapchat and YouTube. Teenagers are now starting to spend more time on video sharing sites than watching TV, which is understandably making parents feel uneasy about the broad range of content they can access. It’s concerning as these sites do not fall under the traditional regulations that govern other forms of broadcasting, such as those implemented by Ofcom.
“It’s almost impossible to constantly monitor what a child is accessing online nowadays, given that many will own games consoles and smartphones that are all Internet-enabled. It is clear that site owners should share in the responsibility of ensuring young users are not able to view material that is inappropriate. It’s up to them to put the effective age restrictions in place.”