To: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Better IoT Cybersecurity Education for Parents

Better IoT Cybersecurity Education for Parents

Improve cybersecurity education to help parents understand more about the concerns brought upon by IoT technologies.

Why is this important?

For many modern families, the digitally-connected world isn't a new one. For children especially, a digital-heavy reality is a reality they have always known. There are currently more than four times as many IoT devices as human beings on the planet, with a predicted 75 billion devices in use by 2025 (Statista). Over a third of children under the age of one have already used a smart device, and user rates only increase with age. The idea that there are IoT devices that introduce simplicity, are inclusive to all users, is fair and just, and protect users at all times, is a dream that has not yet come true.

Tech companies often market IoT devices as the next big, revolutionary thing, promising to add convenience to routine, mundane tasks and enable families to live happier and healthier lifestyles. IoT devices marketed for the home range from tracking technologies to wireless-connected toys and appliances. Parents are often responsible for introducing these devices into the home, whether for play, entertainment, or education. However, parents rarely know what data is being collected, transferred and utilized. There are significant security and privacy concerns, especially with data collection, personal information and potential security breaches. However, parents often do not have references to educate themselves on these issues, leaving them to navigate a tangled, complicated, and often contradicting mess of privacy policies, terms of services, and product information guides.

"When it comes to staying safe online, children and their parents have been left with all responsibility, but none of the control." - Dame Rachel de Souza - UK Children's Commissioner

Awareness of the potential threat of IoT and digital technologies to society has grown exponentially over the past few years. However, awareness alone is not enough; a significant cultural shift in public opinion and changes in consumer behaviour is needed.

We need to improve cybersecurity education to help parents understand more about the concerns brought upon by IoT technologies.