Press Release | 07 Feb 2023

Tech Savvy Tweens: New research reveals kids’ digital knowledge surpasses their parents by the age of 12

On Safer Internet Day (SID) 2023, Vodafone launches Digital Parenting Pro, one of the biggest parental controls and safety settings resources in the UK, empowering parents to keep up with their kids and improve their own digital skills.

  • Research reveals 12 is the age at which children’s digital knowledge overtakes that of their parents.
  • Over half (60%) of parents wish they were more digitally savvy.
  • Digital lingo such as ‘NFT’, ‘Digital Activism’ and ‘Smishing’ baffle Britain’s parents.
  • Only 1-in-10 (13%) of UK parents feel very confident with the safety features that keep children safe online.
  • On Safer Internet Day (SID) 2023, Vodafone launches Digital Parenting Pro, one of the biggest parental controls and safety settings resources in the UK, empowering parents to keep up with their kids and improve their own digital skills.
  • Click here to access Vodafone’s Digital Parenting Pro.

New research reveals almost half (47%) of parents and carers feel their children know more than them when it comes to digital technology, with 60% claiming they wish they were more digitally savvy.

The study, conducted by Vodafone, reveals a digital knowledge gap between the generations, citing 12 as the age at which parents feel their child’s digital knowledge overtakes their own.

Only 1-in-10 parents are familiar with trending social media platform BeReal (11%) and just 35% are familiar with Twitch, despite the soaring popularity of the live streaming site.

What’s more, 71% of parents claim their children use technological terms they don’t understand – with digital slang such as ‘GRWM’ (get ready with me) and with OOMF (one of my friends) among the phrases 66% of parents are unfamiliar with. Similarly, ‘smishing’, ‘NFT’ and ‘Digital Activism’ are among the online terms parents wouldn’t be able to explain to their children.

The findings are released in line with the launch of Vodafone’s interactive Digital Parenting Pro, one of the biggest parental controls and safety settings resources in the UK.

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Digital Parenting Pro has been created in collaboration with Digital Awareness UK to equip parents and carers with all the information and tools they need to keep their children safe online. The content-rich hub will be a place for parents, carers (and kids) to get information and help about staying safe online, including tips from NSPCC experts, so adults can feel confident about what their kids are up to online, what social media they use, games they play, and threats they might come across.

The survey found digital safety tops the poll of skills where parents feel most ill-equipped to help their children, with more than a quarter (27%) of parents claiming they would feel more at ease with their child using the internet if they had a better understanding of how to keep them safe. Social media proves the biggest area of concern for parents, with apps such as Facebook, TikTok and Instagram coming out top of the list of digital worries for more than half (54%) of British mums and dads.

Nicki Lyons, Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at Vodafone UK, said: 

“When it comes to tech any parent or carer knows what it’s like to feel like your kids know more than you, which is why we’ve created one the UK’s biggest parental controls resources – Digital Parenting Pro.

“It’s designed to help people easily understand more about the latest games or social platforms, what age they are recommended for, and what safety features exist.

“We’ve been working in this space for over a decade, so we understand just how fast things move, and our latest resource will give parents and carers confidence when navigating the digital world.”

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Each year SID aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and help make the internet a safer and better place for everyone. Vodafone’s aim is that Digital Parenting Pro can be part of the solution by providing clear safety advice and support on what to do if things do go wrong – all through its freely accessible and easy-to-use online safety resource.

Will Gardner, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, said:

“Safer Internet Day 2023 is about encouraging children and young people to talk about their lives online as well as providing parents and carers with the information and tools to facilitate these important conversations that go beyond a single day.

“Activities supporting the Safer Internet Day are taking place right around the country and being led by thousands of organisations, and this huge collaboration is where the success of the Day lies.

“It is great to see Vodafone actively supporting the Day, as resources like their Digital Parenting Pro help equip parents with the information they need to help support their children online.”

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The launch of the Digital Parenting Pro resource is part of Vodafone’s everyone.connected campaign which is committed to tackling digital exclusion by helping four million people cross the digital divide by 2025. A key part of this programme is providing free support and skills to digitally transform and upskill businesses and communities.

Click here to access Vodafone’s Digital Parenting Pro.

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About Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year, to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people and inspire a national conversation.

The UK theme for Safer Internet Day 2023 is“Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online”.

Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC), Safer Internet Day is celebrated in over 100 countries coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe. In the UK the work of the UK SIC is part-funded by Nominet and others.

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Safer Internet Day unites millions of young people, schools, and organisations to spark conversations about online safety and trust online. Organisations are taking part, joining young people in conversation, as well as hosting events. Across the day, UKSIC will be releasing toolkits, resources, and live content.

The day offers the opportunity to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community.

Top tips for children and parents and carers to talk about internet safety are available.

Safer Internet Day 2023 coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week, which is organised by Place2Be.

About the UK Safer Internet Centre

The UK Safer Internet Centre (UKSIC), established in 2011, is a leading global partnership helping to make the internet a great and safe place for everyone.

We provide support and services to children and young people, adults facing online harms, and professionals working with children. A bridge between Government, industry, law enforcement and society, we are the engine of the online protection landscape in the UK, dealing with both prevention and response.

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We are unique. Formed of three charities, Childnet, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL, we work together to identify threats and harms online and then create and deliver critical advice, resources, education and interventions that help keep children and young people, and adults, safe. We share our best practices across the UK and globally.

UKSIC is the proud coordinator of Safer Internet Day in the UK. Get more information on the next Safer Internet Day and how you can get involved.

We work alongside 30 other centres across the European continent. Since 2022, we have been part-funded by Nominet – the public benefit company that operates and protects .UK internet infrastructure and uses surplus funds to support projects that promote digital inclusion. Prior to that, we were appointed and part-funded by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre for the UK.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587