It also suggests that more than half (54%) of parents are worried about keeping their children occupied and 31% are concerned about how much time their children will spend online.
The study, which polled 1,000 parents with children aged 4-16, found that day trips (57%), walks (56%) and going to the park (50%) were the most popular ways to keep children entertained. A third plan for their children to read books. It also highlights that the average family will go on up to three different day trips during the holidays, each costing an average of £75. They will also enjoy five different activities every week.
In addition, the research found that half (49%) of parents believe their children will spend more time online and watching TV during the summer holidays compared with term time, with three in ten (31%) admitting they are worried about how much time their child will spend online. Almost 20% are concerned about online bullying during the holidays.
One in five (18%) of parents say they wouldn’t feel confident teaching their children about online safety, while almost six in ten (57%) said they don’t know how to monitor their children’s online activity. Over half (56%) aren’t sure how to block websites. One in seven (14%) worry their child doesn’t understand the risks of using the internet, apps and online gaming. A significant proportion (16%) feel children should be taught about online safety from the age of five.
Says Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director, Vodafone UK:
“Many of us worry about extra screen time during the school holidays. Even with our best efforts to keep children entertained, some online activity is almost inevitable for many. That’s why it is so important to give parents and carers the tools they need to help children navigate the online world safely and happily. ”
Adds Emma Robertson, Co-Founder of Digital Awareness UK:
“We tend to see a spike in issues such as online bullying, sexting or exposure to inappropriate content during the summer holidays as children spend more time using devices. While screen time can be a worry for parents, it’s important to remember that technology has been a lifeline for many young people during this pandemic, and not all screen time is bad – many of our young people will use devices during the summer holidays to continue learning and socialising and creating. Ensuring that the conversations we have with our children about technology are balanced, as well as the amount of time we spend on and off screens is key.”
To help parents keep their children occupied over the summer and educate them on the importance of online safety, Vodafone has partnered with Andersen Press to offer 10,000 free digital copies of Chicken Clicking, Troll Stinks and Old Macdonald Had a Phone, written by author Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross. The books explore themes of internet bullying, managing screen time and being mindful of internet predators. They are available to download, for free, at www.vodafone.co.uk/digitalparenting.