Children concerned by parents’ web habits

Children in Sweden are becoming increasingly concerned by their parents' internet habits, according to a new report from Children's Rights in Society (Barnens Rätt i Samhället - BRIS).

Children concerned by parents' web habits

Last year the organization dealt with 1,895 IT-related cases, up sharply on figures from the previous year. Further investigation revealed that more than 100 of the children who made contact with BRIS did so because they were in some way worried about their parent’s behaviour on the internet.

Dads visiting pornographic websites represented the most common complaint, while philandering fathers were also a cause for concern.

“It seems that my dad is ‘unfaithful’,” wrote one 15-year-old boy.

“I read his MSN conversation log. I was just curious. And then I saw that he was talking to, like, young girls. And the disgusting part is that he’s 53!

“And they talk about sex and how they’re going to meet and everything. It makes me want to puke. It really makes me feel bad.

“I don’t know if I should tell mum because I’m worried they’ll get a divorce. Please, what should I do?”

The report also made it clear that children were not the only ones spending inordinate amounts of time in front of the computer.

One 12-year-old girl called the organization to explain that she rarely got to speak to her mum anymore. Her mother spent most of her time sitting half naked in front of the computer and posting photos of herself on the internet, the girl said.

Another girl’s mother had begun devoting all her attention to a computer game.

“I know it sounds ridiculous but my mother has started playing the computer game WoW, World of Warcraft,” wrote the 13-year-old.

“This summer she has been sitting up all day and all night and she forgets what’s important to me. And when she’s not at the computer she’s like a lost soul. She just looks straight ahead and says nothing. I’m not doing so well.”

While parents’ web behaviour is clearly a growing problem, the majority of cases covered in the Children, BRIS and IT report related to: love and friendship (47 percent), insults, threats and assault (15 percent) and sex (10 percent).