• New research from O2 reveals half of British children are dreaming of careers as vloggers, and animators, whilst parents still aspire for offspring to follow more traditional roles
  • Despite children’s career aspirations, only 11% of mums and dads encourage their kids to use technology as a way to develop skills or express their creativity online
  • O2 and the NSPCC are working together to tackle parental anxiety and support customers to safely explore the digital world with their kids

Technology-focused jobs have topped a list of children’s dream future careers, according to a new survey of 4,000 Brits released today by O2, with nearly half (49%) of the children polled stating they’d like to pursue a career in the industry.  In contrast, today’s parents still aspire for their offspring to grow up to follow a traditional professional career path.

Parents Children (aged 5 – 16 years)
Top Future Career Choices (for children) 1.       Doctor (28%)

2.       Teacher (24%)

3.       Software Developer (23%)

4.       Lawyer (23%)

5.       Engineer (22%)


1.       YouTuber / Vlogger (30%)

2.       Animator (15%)

3.       Software Developer (14%)

4.       Web Designer (12%)

5.       Coder (12%)


Despite opposing aspirations, both parents and their children share a belief that they’ll need digital skills to succeed in their future careers (77% and 76% respectively). However, only 11% of mums and dads encourage their kids to use technology as a way to develop skills or express their creativity online.

The research highlights differences in conversations when it comes to children’s perceived on and offline lives. For example, only a third (36%) of parents talk to their children about what they do online each day, compared to three quarters (75%) talking about what they do at school every day. Moreover, just 29% of parents spend time with their kids playing or doing activities online on a daily basis.

Less than half (37%) of children surveyed thought that their parents were well informed about the online world. Only 15% of mum and dads are aware of the recommended age guidelines for popular social networking sites, suggesting confusion about helping their children navigate the online world.

To address this digital divide, O2 is working in partnership with the NSPCC to help parents feel more confident in encouraging their children to explore and enjoy the online world safely. They have developed a range of free online resources available on the O2 NSPCC Hub, including a Net Aware app which explains the social networks, apps or games their children use most frequently. Parents can also access personalised advice and support about family online safety via the free O2 NSPCC helpline, which is open 7 days a week (0808 800 5002), alongside face to face advice from O2 Gurus in over 450 stores nationwide. The resources are available to everyone, both O2 customers and non-O2 customers.

Nina Bibby, CMO at O2 says: “Our research shows that both children and parents are excited by the opportunities that technology can bring. But we know our customers with children can sometimes feel nervous about actively encouraging their children to enjoy the online world – and need practical advice and support. As a mother myself, I’m proud that we are committed to supporting parents across the UK to keep their kids safe online through our partnership with the NSPCC.”

Claire Lilley, NSPCC Head of Child Online Safety said: “The internet provides so many exciting opportunities for children and young people however,  it can also expose them to dangers such as age-inappropriate material or falling prey to cyber-bullying. Just like real life, children need help to stay safe online – that’s why it is vital parents regularly talk to their children about what they are doing online. The work we are doing with O2 provides parents with a range of support to help them feel confident in starting those conversations.”

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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