The NSPCC have recently surveyed more than 600 primary school children about what information they feel they need to help them to stay safe online. More than 80% of children said that online privacy settings on mobile apps and games was a topic they thought their parents should cover when talking about online safety
Just over half (54%) of children opted for using privacy settings relating to sharing their location via GPS which is important to use to safeguard them from risks such as being tracked by unknown people (such as sex offenders) and also being victims of cyberbullying or being targeted online.
The NSPCC found that although 8 out of 10 parents told us 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 with their children.
Claire Lilley 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 rick 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.”
To help support parents, NSPCC has recently updated their fantastic Net Aware guide, which includes information about popular social media sites and online platforms. Net Aware now covers a total of 60 social networking sites, apps and games popular with children and is free to access.
This week, 12 new sites have been added including Tapatalk and Pheed, which many parents and professionals may not be familiar with, as well as other 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.
Schools and settings are encouraged to share the Net-Aware resources throughout their communities. This will help embed the message that e-Safety is a shared responsibility and we (parents and professionals) all need to be talking with children more often to help empower them to feel able to make safer and more informed choices online.