The NSPCC and 02 have teamed up to create Net Aware, a handy guide to keeping your child safe on social networks, apps and games
Words Miriam Carey
A recent survey has revealed how easy it is for school children to access dangerous and harmful material online – despite repeated calls for improvements in online safety.
Carried out by Net Aware, the NSPCC and 02’s social network tool, the survey involved 1,725 school children of which it seems 50% had seen sexual, violent and adult material on social media sites, apps and games. Further, a massive 78% of children reported that they had joined social media sites before reaching the specified minimum age of 13.
The research also revealed young people were more likely than parents to report seeing harmful content on three quarters of the sites they looked at. While young people rated Chatroulette, Omegle and Tumblr as high risk for sexual content, parents had rated the same sites as low risk – which highlights the fact that parents need to be more aware of the content of each site their children visit.
The NSPCC is offering support to children through ChildLine, and wants to advise parents through it’s partnership with O2. For parents who need advice or help with parental controls they ask for you to call their 02 helpline or visit a guru instore.
Net Aware is a simple guide for parents to the most popular social networks, apps and games
Net Aware is the UK’s only guide for parents to 50 of the most popular social media sites, apps, and games that young people use, and includes guides to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Information in the guide is based on reviews from more than 500 parents, who make up the ‘Parent Advisory Board’, and 1,725 school children.
The site describes what users can do on the apps and why young people might enjoy them. It also warns of the potential dangers and gives advice for navigating them. You can visit Net Aware online or download the free mobile app for iOS and Android.
There is a need for parents to find out more about the sites children visit
Nina Bibby, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2 commented, “As a parent, it can be difficult to keep up with the many different websites, apps and games our tech-savvy children know so intimately.” This is why it is vital parents actively participate in their children’s digital life to help them stay safe online.
Social platforms are improving but they are not there yet in terms of safety
Around half of the sites on Net Aware have made improvements to their privacy settings and reporting functions. But more than 60% of young people surveyed said social media platforms need to do more to keep children safe.
Tips for starting a conversation with children about online safety
- Explore sites and apps together and talk about any concerns.
- Ask your child if they know how to stay safe online.
- Talk about personal information and what to share online.
Appointments with an 02 guru can be booked at: guru.force.com
Visit the NSPCC share aware page featuring safety tips: nspcc.org.uk
Visit Net Aware to find out more about the social network sites your children uses: net-aware.org.uk
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