As schools break up for half-term, children are set to spend more time socialising and gaming online.

While the internet is full of exciting things for children to explore and learn, there can be risks including cyberbullying or accessing inappropriate content.

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

 

In fact, nationally, the NSPCC’s Childline service has seen a 60 percent year on year increase in the number of counselling sessions where children have reported feeling worried after seeing adult content online.

Worrying though this is, there are thankfully plenty of actions parents can take to stop this from happening to their children. And a new joint initiative between leading children’s charity, NSPCC and mobile company, O2 is making it easier than ever to be in the know.

Being in the know

The new initiative means parents can now receive free one-to-one online safety advice from O2 ‘gurus’ at stores across Bristol, Bath and the greater South West, learning how to set up parental controls on phones, tablets and PCs, as well as how to make devices safer for children to use.

“Talking to your child regularly and being part of their online world is the best way to help keep them safe”

 

o2-and-nspcc-join-forces-to-provide-online-safety-advice-fo-familiesJulia Fossi, head of child online safety at the NSPCC, says: “Keeping children safe online is the biggest child protection challenge of this generation.

“Technology is changing all the time and it can be hard to keep up to date with the latest games, sites and apps but it’s important to take on the challenge and treat it like any other parenting task.

“Thanks to the NSPCC and O2 partnership help is at hand but talking to your child regularly and being part of their online world is the best way to help keep them safe.”

As well as providing in-store gurus, the NSPCC and the O2 have been working together since August 2015 to produce a number of other online resources to help families enjoy the best of the digital world in safely and with confidence. Check them out below:

  • Online Safety Helpline – adults can call 0808 800 5002 for advice on technical issues such as privacy settings on apps or personal matters such as online bullying.
  • Net-Aware.org.uk – an overview of the most popular sites, games and apps used by young people.
  • Share Aware – includes conversation starter ideas and animated advice about staying safe online.

To find out where your nearest O2 store and get advice from a guru, you’ll need to book a guru in advance by selecting the ‘I’d like help keeping my family safe online’ option in the drop down. 

Parents can also get online safety advice from the NSPCC’s website, or by calling the free helpline on 0808 800 5002.

Children and young people can contact Childline anytime online or call on 0800 1111 to access help.

Alice Whale