Press Release

Parents admit finding it difficult to understand aspects of the digital world causing over half (56%) to avoid discussing technology and social media with their children, and instead preferring to discuss ‘the birds and the bees’. These were part of the findings revealed in a new study by BT Skills for Tomorrow in which 57% of parents surveyed said they ask their kids to help them when it comes to advice on new apps and technology.

With digital technology transforming every element of our day to day lives, it’s increasingly vital that parents have the knowledge they need to talk with their children about how they use technology. Whilst many parents are familiar with classic acronyms used on social media by children, such as LOL, BTW and ATM, new acronyms remain a mystery. Only one in five parents understand POS (parent over shoulder) and 10% don’t understand any acronyms at all. Similarly, 35% of parents say they aren’t familiar with the platforms and apps their children frequently use.

To support parents and guardians across the UK, BT has launched Skills for Tomorrow, a new programme to give 10 million people the skills they need for the digital world. The online platform hosts free resources and online courses covering all areas of life, including parent specific information to give them knowledge and confidence online to empower them in supporting their children’s digital lives.

Professor Kerensa Jennings, Digital Impact Director, BT, said: “New technology is constantly changing family life, so we want to help parents feel more confident about helping their children to navigate the online world. From protecting children’s privacy to managing screen time, at BT we know how important it is for parents to have these important conversations with their kids from an early age. Our Skills for Tomorrow programme is here to help families build confidence and understanding, so that they can support their children to have a happy, healthy and safe time online.”

Carolyn Bunting, CEO, Internet Matters, said: “Conversations about your child’s online world don’t have to be tricky or uncomfortable.

"Speaking to your child from a young age allows you to create an environment where children share their digital experiences, so it’s important parents have the confidence to support their children and navigate any issues they may face.

"With BT’s Skills for Tomorrow, parents now have a fantastic place where they can learn how to help their children safely master the digital world and encourage them to make the most of the opportunities the online world has to offer."

With the launch of Skills for Tomorrow, BT is helping to close the digital skills knowledge gap that exists between parents and children – one in five children don’t believe their parents can help them with a technology-based question in the home. BT is committed to supporting and encouraging parents to have these important conversations around technology with their children, starting early.