especially amongst children and young people across the world”. The project is co-funded by the European Union and aims to raise awareness about the dangers that the online world can present.
Charities including ChildLine and the NSPCC are working together with other organisations and charities to encourage safer internet practices for children and teenagers. Claire Lilley of the NSPCC said today: “Young people tell us they are experiencing all sorts of new forms of abuse on scale never before seen. The internet and mobile phones are now part and parcel of young people’s everyday lives. They are the first generation who has never known a world without them. The benefits are huge, both socially and educationally, but so too are the dangers.”
ChildLine is holding assemblies in schools throughout the UK to offer advice and guidance about how to stay safe online. It believes that lessons should be given to children from the age of five in the same way that children are given advice about not talking to strangers and avoiding drugs.
In partnership with Safer Internet Day, security company Kaspersky completed research into the footage available to children on YouTube: they found that on average children were just three clicks away from explicit material. An example in the research found that a child watching the CBBC programme Rastamouse was just two clicks away (using YouTube’s suggested videos links) from a music video featuring swearing and guns.
The digital world moves very fast and the NSPCC has recognised that the continuing online developments make it difficult for parents to keep up. Campaigners are calling for internet service providers to create easy parental control systems so that parents can have peace of mind that their children are safe online.
There are many benefits to using the internet and social media but it is vital that vulnerable people are protected so that they won’t be negatively affected by what they see online. It is so important that children and teenagers are taught how to protect themselves and are given advice on what is right and wrong so that they are not exploited through dangerous digital practices such as sexting and online grooming.
Children who have grown up using the internet are often savvier and more aware of online platforms than their parents so it is essential that initiatives such as Safer Internet Day are here to help both parents and children avoid the perils of the online world.