North East parents reveal concerns over children's activities online

Northumberland mum aiming to keep her daughter safe when going online as part of new NSPCC campaign

A child surfs the internet on a laptop
A child surfs the internet on a laptop

Concerns of North East parents over social networking sites popular with children are today revealed.

The NSPCC has this week launched its Share Aware campaign to get families talking about socialising safely online.

It comes after the charity created a panel of 500 parents who reviewed 48 sites and said all those aimed at adults and teenagers were too easy for children under 13 to sign-up to.

On more than 40 per cent of the sites, the panel struggled to locate privacy, reporting and safety information.

At least three quarters of the parents surveyed found sexual, violent, or other inappropriate content.

Karen Hill, from Whalton in Northumberland
Karen Hill, from Whalton in Northumberland

The NSPCC also asked just under 2,000 children and young people which social networking sites they used, including children from the charity’s service centre in Newcastle.

Karen Hill, from Whalton in Northumberland, is mum to 13-year-old Grace.

Karen said: “My experience of social media is very limited so knowing what advice and support to offer my daughter is difficult.

“It’s a big concern for me that young people now have access to so much on the internet and that they seem to share so much information online.

NSPCC Net Aware website
NSPCC Net Aware website

“My number one priority is to keep Grace safe but it can be a minefield. No matter how many restrictions you can apply at home to minimise the risks, other peers might not have the same safeguards in place and so this is another worry.

“There are more talks in school now about internet safety and I try and talk to Grace as much as possible about it too but my knowledge is really limited. I think this campaign is long overdue - anything that can help educate parents and carers to support their children in this changing world can’t come soon enough.”

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “Children are taught from an early age that it is good to share but doing so online can be very dangerous. We must all be Share Aware. This Christmas many children will have been given a smart phone, a tablet computer, or a games console. So it’s the perfect opportunity for parents to have that important conversation with their children about who they are talking to and what they share when they socialise online.

A mother and daughter browse the internet together
A mother and daughter browse the internet together
 

“We know that children do take risks online, sometimes without realising it. And we know some parents feel confused by the internet – out of their depth, and out of control. Our Share Aware campaign gives parents straightforward, no-nonsense advice that will help them to untangle the web and feel confident talking to their children about online safety.

“Keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation.”

The NSPCC’s Share Aware campaign is aimed at parents of eight to 12-year-old children and also features two animations to be shown on prime time TV and digital spaces.

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