Parents have a central role in mediating and teaching children about different risks. Parental awareness and beliefs significantly influence their prevention efforts. While the existing literature demonstrates that parents tend to be less aware of the different online risks children encounter, there is a considerable gap in understanding the intricacies of parental perception of both risks and harm. This study explores parental perspectives on online sexual risks and harm. Data were collected from 22 parents during focus group interviews (n=6) combined with activity-oriented questions. The findings suggest that parents perceive (the presence of) risk as something related to either parenting or specific child-related characteristics. Also, the level of harm was related to the presence of the child’s (sexual) agency. According to parents, children with a sexual agency are less likely to be harmed than those without sexual agency. The study provides new considerations to inform policy responses and education program design.
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