Protect Their Curiosity

Internet Matters launches “Protect Their Curiosity” Campaign highlighting 21st Century children’s access to online pornography, violent videos as well as cyber-bullying and sexting trends.

IM Privacy CampaignParents are being urged to play a more active role in keeping their children safe online, with the launch of a new campaign designed to highlight the importance of parental controls in the digital age.

A series of powerful video clips have been created by Internet Matters - a not-for-profit organisation backed by the industry’s biggest broadband providers BT, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media - highlighting the real risks of children using the Internet without parental controls.

The Protect Their Curiosity campaign urges parents to activate safety filters on all computers, search engines, apps, smartphones and tablets to encourage children to be able to explore the digital world in a safer environment.

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager for Internet Matters, said: “The internet is the most important invention of our time – if not all time. As parents, we should encourage our children to explore and enjoy the freedom of the Internet. But we have a responsibility to protect their curiosity and prevent them from seeing stuff they don’t want to see.

“Setting parental controls is easy, and means parents and children can benefit from the very best of the Internet without any of the worry. However, according to our research, more than half of parents haven’t done it. Enabling these will go a long way towards ensuring children are safer in the digital world.”

Four videos have been produced to give parents insight into how their kids behave online and how they react to seeing inappropriate content.

Child actors have been used for the project to show how “an innocent search can turn bad in one click” on topics of pornography, violence, cyber-bullying and image sharing.

Each video shows a child using a computer or tablet but focuses purely on their face. A web wireframe appears on top of the video, hinting to the audience what the child is viewing online. The child’s expression changes from curiosity, to nervousness and then to distress. No children were exposed to any inappropriate content in the making of the films.

In one of the films, a young boy innocently searches a video-sharing service for films about ‘Pirates’. As well as the expected content, he is able to easily find a video of Somali pirates being killed by private security firms and mercenaries.

Carolyn Bunting added: “The videos might be uncomfortable viewing, but we wanted to show the reality of how a child’s innocent curiosity can turn into a distressing experience in just one click. Kids want to use the web in safety. They don’t want to be scared of what they might click on. A big step towards this lies with parents switching on every parental control available.”

Ms Bunting said it was also hugely important for parents to sit down and talk to their children about wider issues of cyber-bullying and image-sharing, and staying safe when they are online:

“In the same way that parents teach their children how to swim, cross the road or ride a bike, they need to spend time with their kids on-line to ensure they are safe on the digital highways of the Internet.”

The Protect Their Curiosity campaign is being backed by mum Lizi Patch – who says her son was left distressed after seeing a disturbing sex video aged 11 which was being shared around the school play ground.

Mum-of-two Lizi said: “It is incredibly important for parents to be involved in how their children use the Internet. My son was deeply affected by something he saw online on his mobile phone and ended up changing his phone settings to block out any future distressing content. We now have regular conversations.”

Find out more and view the Internet Matters Protect their Curiosity videos

Written by Internet Matters on July 02, 2015 09:17

Privacy is main online concern for primary school children

Parents are not talking to children about the right online safety issues

Parents may be missing out vital information when they talk to their children about staying safe online, the NSPCC warns.

The NSPCC asked more than 600 primary school children what information they needed to stay safe online. More than 80% said online privacy settings on mobile apps and games was a topic they thought their parents should cover in an online safety conversation. And just over half (54%) opted for location settings, which can prevent sex offenders tracking children.

However, although eight out of ten parents told the NSPCC in a YouGov poll that they knew what to say to their child to keep them safe online, only 28% had actually mentioned privacy settings to them and just 20% discussed location settings.

The charity is now urging parents to make sure their online knowledge is up to date by checking out its updated Net Aware guide, published this week.

Among twelve sites that have now been added to the guide are Tapatalk and Pheed, which many parents may not be familiar with, plus well-known games like Call of Duty that allows users to chat online.

The latest websites, apps and games featured in Net Aware were reviewed by a panel of parents and all were rated poorly in terms of how easy it was to change privacy settings, report concerns about abuse or bullying, and find safety advice.

The guide now covers a total of sixty social networking sites, apps and games popular with children and is free to access at

Claire Lilley, NSPCC head of child safety online, said: “If parents aren’t talking to children about things like privacy settings on social networking sites it can leave them at risk of online grooming. We’ve seen horrendous cases where offenders take a scattergun approach, targeting hundreds of children at a time online, often posing as another young person.

“It’s important parents have the knowledge to talk in detail with children about safety settings. Minecraft is one game that is much safer for children once the privacy settings have been adjusted. Our updated Net Aware guide is packed with straightforward advice that will help parents stay up to date with their children’s digital lives.”

Following the launch of the NSPCC’s online safety campaign in January nearly 400,000 parents have spoken to their children about staying safe online. However, it seems that many parents have gaps in their online knowledge and don’t talk about the right issues with their children.

For example, Tinder, Facebook Messenger, Yik Yak and Snapchat were all rated as risky by children, with the main worry being talking to strangers. However, for the same sites the majority of parents did not recognise that the sites could enable adults to contact children. Parents tended to worry more about sexual or violent content or bad language.

The NSPCC is calling for all social networking sites, apps and games used by children to provide easy ways for children and parents to report abuse, attempts at grooming or concerns about content.

The charity also wants to see all online accounts for under-16s:

  • block messages from strangers,
  • prevent users making their location or contact details public,
  • set profiles as private by default on sign-up,
  • alert children to the risks if they choose make their profile public.

    If you would like to know about the online training course for parents available from E-safety Support, login or join free for a full preview. E-safety Support also provide a parent pack of useful information for schools to share with parents.

  • Written by Safeguarding Essentials on May 07, 2015 13:44

    Our Digital Footprint - The Right to be Forgotten

    FindWhen you were a kid or a teenager did you ever do anything that was just a little bit wild or irresponsible? Maybe at a party after a few drinks or as a result of student over-exuberance? We can all probably look back into our past, hold our head in our hands and groan at our own stupidity.

    But, what if you had had something serious happen to you that you personally don’t wish to remember and, more importantly, you definitely don’t want other people to remember or be reminded of, as it could be having ramifications on your present life?

    This is essentially the reason why a Spanish man took Google to court back in May this year. Mario Gonzales’ complaint was that a search of his name within the Google search engine produced hits of newspaper articles, from 16 years ago, regarding the sale of a property that had occurred in order to recover money that he owed. Mr Gonzales took his fight to the European Union Court of Justice arguing that the matter had been resolved and should no longer be linked to him.

    The EU court agreed with him.

    The EU Justice Commissioner declared that the judgement was a “clear victory for the protection of personal data of Europeans” and “The ruling confirms the need to bring today’s data protection rules from the ‘digital stone age’ into today’s modern computing world.”

    What the Commissioner, Viviane Reding, was referring to was the European Commission 2012 proposal of a law giving internet users the “right to be forgotten” and that people had the right to request information to be removed from search engines, if it appeared “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”.

    However, this ruling could have huge consequences.

    Should anyone who does not like a particular article or story about them have the right to simply wipe it out of existence? What about people who stand for public office? At the moment they can be researched to find if their digital footprint reveals any ‘nasties’ from their past and, although at present there is a clause within the ruling relating to data that is of ‘public interest’, the 2012 EU proposal that this decision supports, is part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the commission’s 1995 Data Protection Directive.

    What about people who committed crimes in their younger days?

    From a wider perspective, this issue highlights why we should be constantly aware of, and monitor our own ‘digital footprint’ - to see what hits appear when we ‘Google’ our own name. We should be ensuring that there is no content that, not only is potentially embarrassing or damaging to our character now, but to think what it could say about us in 20, 30 or 40 years time if, for instance, an employer came across it.

    It is worth remembering that during the earlier stages of this legal battle between the Google and the EU Commission, Google won at every stage.

    This why it is also crucially important that we teach our young people not to be so care-free about their ‘digital footprint’ (and indeed, their offline activities too) and before they hit the ‘share’ button to publish that embarrassing ‘selfie’ doing something they shouldn’t be doing or the ill-considered rant about a particular contentious issue, how will that look to others 15 years on when they are a professional, a doctor or a teacher?

    Written by Steve Gresty on July 02, 2014 09:13

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