Almost every parent today recognises the need to protect their children online as well as in the real world. But with young people growing up with technology seamlessly embedded into their lives, it can be difficult to know where to start. Coupled with the increasing opportunities for young people to access the internet, parenting in the digital age can be a daunting prospect.

For some time now, Microsoft has been working to ensure that children from a young age are taught how to responsibly and appropriately engage with technology. Technology brings innumerable benefits and we want people to enjoy those, which is why we have a responsibility to help minimise the risks.

Today marks the launch of our “Safer Families” programme, aimed at helping parents to keep their children safer online. We’ve joined up with The Parent Zone to visit workplaces across the UK, starting with Argos, to encourage parents to use the tools and information available to set up family safety settings on their children’s smartphones, games consoles, PCs and laptops.

We are also releasing new research which surveyed 1000 parents of children between 5-16 years across the UK which showed that:

  • Three quarters of children aged between five and 16 are using the internet daily

  • Over 50% of 5-10 year olds are regularly unsupervised while on the internet

  • Almost half (43%) of parents have not set up any family safety settings on the tech their children use. Of these, 50% do not know how to do so, and 50% know but haven’t yet turned them on.

At the free Safer Families worshops, we will talk to parents about the benefits and risks associated with children using the internet and how they should talk to their children about staying safer online. We hope that by encouraging these conversations, raising awareness, and providing the tools needed, we can help families stay safer online.

The programme will launch initially with Argos, and will consist of practical sessions complemented by instructional online safety videos, so that parents can follow easy, step-by-step instructions on how to set the family safety settings on the various Microsoft technology they have in their homes.

We have a deep heritage in child online protection and today’s launch is one of the many ways Microsoft is working to tackle the issue. To hear more about our work in this area, and to learn the steps you can be taking to help keep your family safer online, please visit: www.microsoft.com/uk/saferfamilies