Generation Z Calls for Stricter Parental Controls in the Home

Children now have unprecedented access to potentially harmful and age-restricted content such as gaming, gambling, adult sites and social media – all from their home. But a new Generation Z study (those born after 1995) from IDEX Biometrics has revealed this age group want to see tougher parental controls to protect children from potentially harmful  content online.

Findings show the average age of respondents when they first accessed adult content was just 14 years old. And 11 years old on average when first visiting social media, 13 years old for gaming sites or apps, and 15 years old for online gambling. A further 66% of Generation Z also admitted to accessing social media sites or apps while they were below the recommended age, followed by 62% for gaming sites.

Drawing from their experiences, many in this young age group want to protect children from the negative effects of online content. More than one-in-ten (12%) of those who accessed social media and 13% who accessed gaming sites while underage, believe they were at a higher risk of becoming addicted to this content than if they had waited until they were the right age.

70% of those surveyed believe it is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children are not accessing adult content or activities underage, rising to 85% from those aged 16-17 years old.

“With social media, it’s too easy to view adult content today, even if you’re underage. But there should be stricter measures, as parents don’t always have time to check every site their child uses,” commented Paris, a 20-year-old interviewed at a focus group into online security held by IDEX Biometrics. “I think content providers should introduce something on their websites to make it more difficult for kids to access this content,” continued Paris.

When questioned, four-in-ten (40%) of Generation Z believe biometrics, such as fingerprints, should be used to protect under-age children from accessing social media sites. A further 53% of those surveyed would also like to see biometric authentication used for age verification to access 18+ gaming sites.

“With more connected devices entering the family home, parents are under added pressure to protect their children online. Parents don’t have time to constantly check every website or app and it can be easy for children to falsify their date of birth to get around online age restrictions. These findings show more needs to be done by the Government and tech providers to help parents intercept children when they are most vulnerable.comments David Orme, Senior Vice President at IDEX Biometrics.

“A biometric fingerprint digital ID solution is an effective means to establish age-authentication for in-game payments, access to age-rated films, gambling sites and even social media. Adopting this technology would prevent vulnerable children from accessing potentially harmful content – both in smart devices and online,” adds Orme.

Methodology and sample:

1,096 interviews were conducted in the UK by Arlington Research, an independent market research agency, using an online methodology among a nationally representative sample of consumers from Generation Z. All respondents were aged 16-24. Questions about viewing adult content were only asked to respondents aged 18+. Quotas were applied to gender of the respondent and the region in which they reside, to ensure that the sample is nationally representative of that age group.