23 January 2018

Parents encouraged to equip their kids for a digital future

New research from O2 reveals nearly half (49%) of British children are dreaming of careers in tech, but only 11% of parents encourage their kids to use technology as a way to develop skills or express their creativity online

The news comes as leading economists predict that 44% of traditional jobs in the UK today could be replaced by automation by the time today’s pupils enter the world of work¹

To address this challenge, O2 and the NSPCC have joined forces to help parents to safely explore the online world with their kids and prepare them for a digital future

TUESDAY 23rd JANUARY 2018: A new survey of 2,000 parents and 2,000 children by O2 has revealed the future is tech.  Nearly half (49%) of children polled want to pursue a career in the tech industries, with vlogger topping the list of dream careers (30%), followed by animator (15%), software developer (14%), web designer (12%) and coder (12%).  And over three quarters (77%) of those surveyed believe that digital skills will be vital to their future career success.

In spite of this, only 11% of parents admit they encourage their kids to use technology as a way to develop skills or express their creativity online. And while three quarters (75%) of mums and dads talk to their children every day about what they do at school, only a little over a third (36%) said they ask their children about what they do online each day.  A tenth of those claim a lack of confidence on how to talk to young people about the risks and opportunities of the online world is the cause for the lack of dialogue. 

The news comes as leading economists predict that 44% of traditional jobs in the UK economy today could feasibly be automated by the time today’s pupils enter the world of work¹. Building parents’ confidence to explore the online world with their children is an important step forward in nurturing their digital skills and preparing them for the career roles of the future.

In order to help parents safely explore the digital world with their children, O2 is working in partnership with the NSPCC to provide a series of free online safety tools and resources. So far, they’ve helped over 25,000 parents get to grips with their child’s digital world, running workshops in primary schools across the UK.

Parents can also access personalised advice and support about the digital world via the free O2 NSPCC Helpline, open 7 days a week (0808 800 5002), alongside face to face advice from O2 Gurus in over 450 stores nationwide, available to both O2 and non-O2 customers.  More free resources are available on the O2 NSPCC Hub, where parents can sign up to receive the Icebreaker email series with valuable online safety advice and top tips direct to parents’ inboxes. 

O2’s Director of Sustainability Bill Eyres said: “Our research shows that children are excited by the opportunities that technology can bring.  We also know parents want to encourage their children to embrace technology and future proof their career paths, but in spite of this, some are still nervous of actively supporting their children to enjoy the online world. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the NSPCC to create a range of free resources and services aimed at helping parents feel more confident in their kids embracing technology safely.”

NSPCC Head of Child Safety Online Tony Stower said: “The internet can open up a world of possibilities for children giving them a space to play, learn and connect but some parents may lack the confidence to nurture their child’s digital skills.

To make the most of all the internet has to offer we encourage parents to take the time to explore their child’s online world with them. With O2 we have developed lots of useful tools and advice so parents can support their child to make the most of the internet and safely navigate the risks.”

O2 and the NSPCC have created a guide for parents to bring the family together to explore, create and play safely online:

  • Talk: Chat to your child about their online world, just as you’d ask about their day at school.
  • Explore: Explore and understand the apps, games and sites your child uses and get to know your child’s online world better.
  • Agree: Set out the family rules to live well online. Discuss and agree ground rules and make sure you’re a good role model.
  • Manage: Make the technology work for you. Adapt privacy settings and use parental controls where necessary.

About the Research
Survey of 4,000 British people (incl. 2,000 parents and 2,000 children aged 5 – 16 years) carried out by One Poll in November 2017

Additional Sources
¹Study by the IPPR thinktank, December 2017

About Telefonica UK/O2
Telefónica UK Limited is a leading digital communications company owned by Telefónica S.A. O2 is the commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited and is the mobile network operator with the highest customer satisfaction in the UK according to Ofcom and The Institute of Customer Service. With over 25 million customers, O2 runs 2G, 3G and 4G networks across the UK, as well as operating its nationwide O2 Wifi service. O2 has over 450 retail stores and sponsors The O2, O2 Academy venues and England Rugby. Read more about O2 at

Telefónica UK Limited is registered in England and Wales. Registration number: 1743099.

The NSPCC is the leading children’s charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK and Channel Islands.  Using voluntary donations, which make up around 90 per cent of our funding, we help children who’ve been abused to rebuild their lives, we protect children at risk, and we find the best ways of preventing child abuse from ever happening. So when a child needs a helping hand, we’ll be there. When parents are finding it tough, we’ll help. When laws need to change, or governments need to do more, we won’t give up until things improve.

Our Childline service provides a safe, confidential place for children with no one else to turn to, whatever their worry, whenever they need help. Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 1111 or by visiting

Our free helpline provides adults with a place they can get advice and support, share their concerns about a child or get general information about child protection. Adults can contact the helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, by texting 88858 or visiting,


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