More than half of parents who previously illegally downloaded content for their children say they do it accidentally during locking-up, new research suggests.
A report on digital theft by Internet security group Internet Matters found that 56% of parents who had already illegally downloaded content for their children were more likely to do so during the lockout, with more than a quarter (27%) saying they were comfortable doing so.
But research warns that parents should be concerned about where they download content, citing data from the Industrial Foundation for IP Awareness, which states that one in three people who access content illegally is exposed to explicit or dangerous content, for example pop-ups.
The data also shows that almost half of those who download something illegally have been exposed to a virus or some form of hacking attempt.
Internet Matters said it was particularly worrying for parents to access such content on behalf of their children during a lockout because one in five parents (18%) thought the process was safe.
In response, the online security system has launched a new video campaign to highlight the dangers of digital theft.
This group has teamed up with parenting blogger Harriet Shearsmith to provide tips on how parents can ensure they and their children are safe online.
“Like many parents and families, my children use technology and are very active online – they stay in touch with friends and family from school jobs to seeing their favorite creators,” Shearsmith said.
“We all live online now more than ever. Knowing our online safety as a family is very important to me.
“That’s why I’re partnered with Internet content in this campaign to educate and educate other parents about the dangers of downloading or streaming illegal content.”
The tips encourage people to use parental controls to help control web browsing, as well as explain the dangers of digital theft to children and stick to official content sources.
Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, said: “This research shows that many parents are not fully aware of the dangers of digital theft.
“Children and adults alike may be tempted to stream or download a movie or TV show, which, if not done properly, can put an innocent person at risk of seeing inappropriate content or accidentally installing malware on their device and keeping it private. And financial information are at risk.
“That’s why we’re launching an online center and campaign. We want to educate parents with the knowledge and tools to help them choose secure content resources.”