A new report into digital resilience from family internet safety experts Parent Zone asks ‘Is it time to rethink online parental controls?’


 Ordinary Magic for the Digital Age: Understanding Digital Online Resilience

by Rachel Rosen

Instinctively, adults who care about children want to protect them from risk and prevent them having bad experiences online. The trouble is that we cannot guarantee a safe internet.

Technological and social realities mean parental controls and filtering can only serve as one, limited part of a strategy to safeguard children.

So what is the solution?

Back in 2014, Parent Zone started the debate about digital resilience. Working with Virgin Media and the Oxford Internet Institute, we commissioned the first study into the subject, A Shared Responsibility: Building Children’s Online Resilience.

The groundbreaking research concluded that digital resilience is not something you can foster by eliminating risk. To become truly resilient, you must be allowed to practise managing and evaluating risky scenarios.


True digital resilience means thriving in a new environment, not just surviving disaster, avoiding harm and recovering from setbacks, but also making the most of the opportunities afforded by technology.

Parents want to protect their children from bad things happening to them – on and offline. Is the research into digital resilience robust enough to persuade families to ditch the controls and allow their children to explore the online world with greater confidence?

Vicki Shotbolt CEO of Parent Zone and executive board member of the UK Centre for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is currently co-chairing a government working group into digital resilience. She says:

‘We at Parent Zone started the conversation about online resilience. Since then, others have taken up the challenge to look into this important area.

‘Now, Parent Zone has commissioned Rachel Rosen to examine the wealth of material that currently exists on digital resilience, sift the wheat from the chaff and look forward to how parents and professionals who work with families can help promote it among our children.

‘Let’s all work together to make 2017 the year of digital resilience.’

Download the report here.

 For expert comment on online safety issues for families from Parent Zone, please contact press@parentzone.org.uk or call 020 704 0415.