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14 Sep 2017

Making the UK the safest place to be a child online

On Wednesday 13th September, our Online Safety Ambassador, Claire Stead, headed to the Policy UK event ‘Building the Safest Place to be a Child Online’ on behalf of Smoothwall.

The event brought together Government officials, national charities, online safety specialists and tech organisations to discuss the ongoing battle with child online safety and who’s responsibility it should be.

For a round-up of our key takeaways from the event, and for the latest topics being debated as part of internet safety, read on.

Lord Best, Chair of the Lords Communications Committee, shared the 10 risks he believes children will always be exposed to online:

  1. Accidentally encountering inappropriate material such as pornography
  2. Cyberbullying
  3. Sharing personal content without realising the implications
  4. The addiction of screen time
  5. Radicalisation
  6. Websites that promote self-harm, eating disorders or suicide
  7. Peer pressure surrounding body image and selfies
  8. Online grooming
  9. Fake news and misleading advertising
  10. The inability to make individual choices, rather than those influenced by things you see online.

“Parents and teachers are on the front line, it is not good enough for parents to say they don’t understand… you’ve got to understand .”

Lord BestStella James, CEO & Founder of Gooseberry Planet, makes key points about how important online safety is as part of the curriculum.

  • Assemblies around online safety are not effective
  • Children learn through repetition, therefore online safety should be part of ongoing learning and not just a one off

Dr Barbie Clark, the founder of market research consultancy, Family, Kids and Youth (FK&Y), shared top statistics surrounding cyberbullying in 11-16 year olds.

  • 18% admitted they had been bullied online
  • 38% admitted they had negative experiences online but did not acknowledge these as being cyberbullying
  • 45% had not been cyberbullied
  • 39% know someone who has been cyberbullied

Further to their research, FK&Y found that children in this age group did not consider joking about a friends picture, making negative and spontaneous comments about a friends gaming ability or sharing details of a private conversation as cyberbullying.

In fact, they only considered it to be cyberbullying once the content became more targeted, repetitive and abusive. Amanda Azeez, Head of Child Safety Online at the NSPCC, shared some key statistics on the current internet usage landscape by children.

  • 90% of 7-16 year olds have an internet enabled phone
  • 50% of 12-15 year olds use Snapchat
  • 72% of 12-15 year olds have a social media profile, with 23% of 8-11 year olds also having one
  • On average, 57% of 8-15 year olds play games online
  • 98% of parents believe online safety to be as important as teaching road safety

Throughout the event, Smoothwall was on hand to discuss how our innovative web filtering and keystroke monitoring solutions are helping to safeguard children in schools, by providing flexible access to the web and monitoring conversations to prevent against cyberbullying or radicalisation.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Smoothwall is helping to make the internet a safer place for children, please contact us for further information.

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