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 www.net-aware.org.uk
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:
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.